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The Book of Jesus

Chapter Four

The New Amsterdam Publishing Company
Copyright © 1997

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Simon, Andrew, James, and John Follow Jesus

NARRATOR.
Now as Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, which is also called Lake Gennesaret, he saw Simon, who was called Peter and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake, for they were fisherman. Later as he was preaching by the lake, the people listening began pressing round him to hear the Word of God. Jesus saw two boats lying at the waters edge, but the fisherman had gone out of them and they were washing their nets. He boarded one of the boats, which was Simon's and asked him to put a little out from the shore. He sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon:
JESUS.
Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.
SIMON.
Master, we worked hard all night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, I will pay out the nets.
NARRATOR.
When they had done this, they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. When they came, they filled the two boats to the point of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at the knees of Jesus and said:
SIMON.
Leave me Lord, for I'm a sinful man.
NARRATOR.
He and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made. And so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. But Jesus said to Simon:
JESUS.
Don't be afraid, from now on it is men you will catch. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
NARRATOR.
Then bringing their boats back to shore, they left everything and followed him. Going on a little further from there, Jesus saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat mending their nets. Immediately he called them and leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired hands, they went after him.

Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11

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The Man Possessed by a Demon in Capernaum

NARRATOR.
They went as far as Capernaum, a town in Galilee. As soon as the Sabbath came, he went to the synagogue and began to teach. His teaching made a deep impression on them, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the Scribes. In their synagogue at that time was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and he cried out in a loud voice:
MAN.
Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.
NARRATOR.
But Jesus rebuked him sharply:
JESUS.
Be quiet and come out of him!
NARRATOR.
And in front of everyone the unclean spirit threw the man down into convulsions and with a loud cry he came out of him without hurting him at all. The people were so astonished that they began asking each other what it all meant.
PEOPLE.
What is this, a new teaching? ... He gives orders to unclean spirits and they obey him.
NARRATOR.
The report of him rapidly spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37

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Simon's Mother-In-Law is Cured

NARRATOR.
On leaving the synagogue, he went immediately with James and John to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and had gone to bed. Going into Peter's house they immediately told him about her and asked him to do something for her. He went in and found her in bed with a fever. Leaning over her he rebuked the fever, took her by the hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she immediately got up and began to wait on them.

Matthew 8:14, 15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38, 39

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More Cures by Jesus

NARRATOR.
When evening had come, after sunset, they brought all who were suffering from various types of diseases and those possessed with devils. In fact, the whole city was gathered together at the door. He laid his hands on every one of them and cured them. Devils also came out of many people, crying out and saying: "You are the Christ, the Son of God." But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. He cast out the spirits with his word and cured all who were sick with various diseases. This was to fulfill the words spoken by Isaiah the prophet when he said: 'He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.'

Matthew 8:16, 17; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40, 41

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Jesus Leaves Capernum and Travels Through Galilee

NARRATOR.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up, left the house and went off to a secluded place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him. When they found him they said:
SIMON.
Everyone is looking for you.
JESUS.
Let's go somewhere else, to the neighboring country towns, so that I can preach there also, because that is why I came.
NARRATOR.
The crowds went looking for him and when they caught up with him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them, but he answered:
JESUS.
I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is what I was sent to do.
NARRATOR.
He went throughout the whole territory of Galilee and Judaea; teaching and preaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, casting out devils and curing all manner of diseases and sicknesses among the people.

Matthew 4:23, Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44

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Cure of a Paralyzed Man

NARRATOR.
When he returned to Capernaum some time later, the word went out that he was back. So many people gathered together that there was no room left even in front of the door and he preached to them.
Now in the audience while he was teaching were Pharisees and doctors of the law who had come from every village in Galilee, Judaea and Jerusalem. He was preaching the word to them when four men appeared carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. The men were trying to bring the man in to lay down in front of him. When they could not find a way of getting him in to Jesus because of the crowd, they went up on to the roof and stripped it over the place where Jesus was. When they had made an opening in the roof, they lowered the man and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic:
JESUS.
Courage, my child. Your sins are forgiven you.
NARRATOR.
The Scribes and the Pharisees began to say to themselves, reasoning in their hearts:
SCRIBES & PHARISEES.
Who is this man talking blasphemies?... Why does this man talk like this?...This man is blaspheming!...Who can forgive sins but God alone?...
NARRATOR.
Jesus, perceiving in his spirit and knowing their thoughts that they were reasoning to themselves in this manner said to them:
JESUS.
Why do you reason these things in your hearts and have such wicked thoughts? Which of these is easier to say to the paralytic; 'Your sins are forgiven you' or to say 'Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk?' But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins: [to the paralytic] - I say to you; get up pick up your stretcher and return to your house.
NARRATOR.
Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, walked out in front of everyone and went home glorifying God. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this. They were all astounded and praised God for giving such power to men.
CROWD.
We have seen strange things today!...We have never seen anything like this!...

Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26

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The Call of Matthew Levi

NARRATOR.
Jesus went out after this and again went to the shore of the lake and all the people came to him and he taught them. As he was walking on, he saw a tax collector, Matthew Levi by name, sitting by the customs house and he said to him:
JESUS.
Follow me.
NARRATOR.
Leaving everything, he got up and followed him.

Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:13,14; Luke 5:27,28

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Eating With Sinners

NARRATOR.
Matthew Levi then held a great feast in his own house. And it occurred that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many of them among his followers. When the Pharisees and their scribes saw this they grumbled against his disciples and said to them:
PHARISEES.
Why do you and your master eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?
NARRATOR.
When Jesus heard this he said to them:
JESUS.
People who are healthy have no need of a physician, but the ones that are sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words; 'What I want is mercy not sacrifice.' Because I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32

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New Wine In Old Wine Skins

NARRATOR.
John's disciples then came to him and said:
JOHN'S DISCIPLES.
Why is it that we and the disciples of the Pharisees are always saying prayers and fasting, but your disciples eat, drink and don't fast?
JESUS.
Can the children of the bridal room mourn and fast while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can't fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. In those days, then they will fast.
No man uses a new, unshrunken piece of cloth to repair an old garment. The patch will shrink and rip the garment even more. The patch, taken from new fabric, will not match the material of the old garment. Nobody puts new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the wine will burst the old wineskins and spill out. The wine will be lost and the wineskins will be ruined.
But new wine must be put into new wineskins and both the wine and their containers will be preserved. A man, when he has tasted an aged wine, does not request new wine for he says; 'The old is better.'

Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39

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The Sabbath Was Made For Man

NARRATOR.
Now one Sabbath day, Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn, rubbing them in their hands and eating them as they walked along. But when some of the Pharisees saw what they were doing, they said to him:
PHARISEES.
Look, your disciples are doing something that's forbidden to do on the Sabbath...Why are they doing something on the Sabbath that's not lawful.
JESUS.
Haven't you read as much as this; what David in his time of need did when he and his followers were hungry, how he went into the House of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest and took the loaves of offering and ate them and also gave some to the men with him? Loaves which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were only the priests. Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath days the priests in the Temple break the Sabbath and are blameless?
Now here I tell you is someone greater than the Temple and if you had understood the meaning of the words; 'What I want is mercy, not sacrifice", you would not have condemned the blameless. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath.
NARRATOR.
And Jesus moved on from there.

Matthew 12:1-9..., Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5

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Doing Good on the Sabbath

NARRATOR.
On another Sabbath Jesus went into their synagogue and began to teach. There was a man there at that time whose right hand was withered. The Scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day so that they might find something to use against and accuse him. They asked him:
SCRIBES & PHARISEES.
Is it against the law to cure a man on the Sabbath day?
NARRATOR.
But he knew their thoughts and said to the man with the withered hand:
JESUS.
Stand up and come out into the middle.
NARRATOR.
He came out and stood there. Jesus then said to them:
JESUS.
I will ask you one thing; is it against the law on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil; to save life or to destroy it?
NARRATOR.
But they held their peace and said nothing.
JESUS.
If anyone of you here had only one sheep and it fell into a ditch on the Sabbath day, wouldn't he get hold of it and lift it out? Now a man is far more important than a sheep, so it follows that it is lawful to good on the Sabbath day.
NARRATOR.
Then grieved to find their hearts so hardened, he looked angrily round at all of them and said to the man:
JESUS.
Stretch out your hand.
NARRATOR.
He stretched it out and his hand was restored whole, as sound as the other. At this they were furious. The Pharisees went out at once and began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing the best way of dealing with Jesus and how to destroy him.

Matthew 12:...9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11

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The Prophecy of Isaiah

NARRATOR.
Jesus knew this and he withdrew from the district and great numbers of people followed him. He cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah:
'Look at my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved, in whom I am well pleased. And he will proclaim the true faith to the nations. He will not brawl or shout, neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smoldering wick till he has led the truth to victory. In his name, the nations will put their hope.'

Matthew 12:15-21

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The Crowds Follow Jesus

NARRATOR.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake side with a great crowd from Galilee following him. He spoke to his disciples and asked them to have a boat standing by for him in the eventuality that the crowds following him would get out of control and converge on him in mass. For he had cured so many, that all who were afflicted in any way were pressing forward to touch him. And the unclean spirits when they saw him, would fall down before him and shout; "You are the Son of God!" But he strongly warned them that they should not make him known.
His fame had spread throughout Syria. Those who were suffering from various diseases and painful conditions; the possessed, epileptics, the paralyzed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Great numbers who had heard of all he was doing also came to him from Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Transjordania, the Decapolis, and the region of Tyre and Sidon.

Matthew 4:24,25, Mark 3:7-12

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The Appointment of the Twelve

NARRATOR.
Seeing the crowds, he went out and up into the mountain to pray and spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came, he summoned his disciples to him and picked out twelve of them and called them apostles. They were to be his companions and would be sent out to preach and would have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils.
The first Simon [whom he gave the name Peter] and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee and his brother John, he called them 'Boanerges' or 'The sons of thunder'; Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew the tax collector, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Thaddaeus [who was also known as Judas the son of James] and Judas Iscariot, the man who became a traitor and was to betray him.

Matthew 5:1...,10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16

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The Crowds

NARRATOR.
He then came down with them and stopped at a large level plain where there was a large gathering of his disciples and a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea, Jerusalem and from the coastal regions of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. And people who were tormented by unclean spirits were also healed. Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him, for there was power that went out from him that cured them all.

Luke 6: 17-19

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