5:1 Now it came to pass, while the multitude pressed upon him and heard the word of God, that he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret1; JESUS CALLS FOUR FISHERMEN TO FOLLOW HIM. (Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum.) Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
The lake of Gennesaret. This body of water bore many names. It was
anciently called Chinnereth (Numbers
34:11), or Chinneroth (Judges
12:3), from a fortified town (Joshua
19:35) and district (1 Kings
15:20) in Naphtali bearing that name. It is here called Gennesaret, from
a plain of that name upon its northwestern shore (which may be a corruption
of the old name Chinnereth.) It received its name, Galilee, from the
district to which it belongs, and in later times it bore the name Tiberias (John
6:1), from the city of that name on its western shore. Also see Mark
5:2 and he saw two
boats standing by the lake: but the fishermen had gone out of them, and were
washing their nets1.
And he saw two boats standing by the lake: but the fishermen had gone
out of them, and were washing their nets. We may conceive of the
fishermen, in answer to Jesus' call, drawing their boats together to the
point where he stood upon the shore. Then, as Jesus stood teaching, they
occupied themselves in the shallow water behind by washing their nets while
they listened to him.
5:3 And he entered
into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from
the land1. And he sat down2
and taught the multitudes out of the boat.
And he entered into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him
to put out a little from the land. He did this that he might avoid the
press, and that the people might be better able both to see and to hear.
And he sat down. The usual attitude or posture of a teacher.
5:4 And when he had left speaking, he said
unto Simon, Put out into the deep1,
and let down your nets for a draught2.
Put out into the deep. "Put out" is in the singular,
being addressed to Simon alone.
And let down your nets for a draught. "Let down" is
plural, being addressed generally to those in the boat.
5:5 And Simon answered and said, Master1,
we toiled all night, and took nothing: but at thy word
I will let down the nets2.
Master. "Master" is a broader word than
"Rabbi"; it indicates a superior, but does not confine his
superiority to matters of instruction.
We toiled all night, and took nothing: but at thy word I will let down
the nets. The words of Peter show a willingness to oblige or honor
Jesus, but are devoid of hope as to the thing proposed. Night was the time
for fishing (John
21:3); and the proper place to cast the net was near the shore; but if
Jesus wished to fish by daylight in the middle of the lake, Simon was not
too weary to humor the wish.
5:6 And when they had done this, they
inclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their nets
And their nets were breaking. That is, the nets began to snap when
they tried to lift them out of the water.
5:7 and they
beckoned unto their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help
them1. And they came, and filled
both the boats, so that they began to sink2.
And they beckoned unto their partners in the other boat, that they
should come and help them. This indicates that they were well out into
the lake, where it was easier to beckon than to shout explanations. Some
think the marvel wrought by Jesus made them speechless, but they were so
engrossed in the magnitude and value of the catch that the full glory of the
miracle had not yet come upon them.
And they came, and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
They probably ran a second net under the one which enclosed the fishes, and
by thus doubling the strength of the net were able to draw the fish up
between the boats. A great load thus suddenly dumped in the side of a boat
will cause it to list, dip water and threaten to sink. Such appears to have
been the case here until the loads were so distributed as to right the
5:8 But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell
down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am
a sinful man, O Lord1.
Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. Peter's request
shows how deeply the miracle impressed him. It gave him that sense of the
divine presence which never fails to overwhelm the hearts of men. No man can
behold God in his glory and live (Exodus
20:18,19); and though there have been exceptions where men have seen God
or his representatives and lived (Exodus
32:30); yet no man, not even the purest, has ever stood in the presence
of God or his ministers without feeling such a sense of weakness and
sinfulness as to almost extinguish life (Revelation
5:9 For he was
amazed, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had
For he was amazed, and all that were with him, at the draught of the
fishes which they had taken. This miracle came home to the soul of Peter
because it was wrought in his own boat, with his own nets, and concerned his
own business. Religion is only powerful as it becomes personal.
5:10 and so were also James
and John, sons of Zebedee1, who were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not2;
from henceforth thou shalt catch men3.
James and John, sons of Zebedee. See Mark
Fear not. See Luke
From henceforth thou shalt catch men. Jesus here shows the purpose
for which this miracle had been wrought. It was a prophetic type or picture
which foreshadowed the triumphs of the day of Pentecost and other seasons
when the apostles had great ingatherings of souls through the preaching of
5:11 And when they
had brought their boats to land, they left all, and followed him1.
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all, and
followed him. That is to say, Peter and Andrew. See Mark
5:12 And it came to pass, while he was in one
of the cities1, behold, a man
full of leprosy2: and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his
face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
JESUS HEALS A LEPER AND CREATES MUCH EXCITEMENT. Matthew
One of the cities. It was a city of Galilee, but as it was not
named, it is idle to conjecture which city it was.
A man full of leprosy. Some have thought that Luke meant to
indicate one so completely covered with leprosy as to be clean (Leviticus
13:12-17). But the fact that Jesus sent him to the priest, shows that he
was not such a clean leper. Luke meant to describe a leper in the last
stages of the disease--a leper past all hope. Also see Mark
5:13 And he
stretched forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou made clean1.
And straightway the leprosy departed from him2.
And he stretched forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be
thou made clean. See Mark
Straightway the leprosy departed from him. See Mark
5:14 And he
charged him to tell no man1: but go thy way, and show
thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses
commanded, for a testimony unto them.
And he charged him to tell no man, etc. See Matthew
5:15 But so much
the more went abroad the report concerning him1: and great
multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed of their infirmities.
But so much the more went abroad the report concerning him. See Mark
5:16 But he withdrew himself in the
deserts, and prayed2.
And he withdrew himself in the deserts. That is, the the remote
grazing-lands like that desert in which he afterwards fed the five thousand.
Such was our Lord's unexampled meekness that he preferred the silent deserts
to the applause of multitudes. His meekness was as high above the capacity
of a merely human human being as were his miracles.
And prayed. Luke's gospel is pre-eminently the gospel of prayer and
5:17 And it came
to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching1; and
there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by2, who
were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem3:
and the power of the Lord was with him to heal4.
JESUS HEALS A PARALYTIC AT CAPERNAUM. Matthew
And it came to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching. See
And there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by. The
fact that they were sitting, shows that they were honored above the rest;
Jesus did not increase their ill-will by any needless disrespect.
Who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem.
It is not likely that such a gathering came together by accident. Capernaum
was known to be the headquarters of Jesus, and these leaders of the people
had doubtless gathered there to wait for some opportunity to see or hear
Jesus. They recognized the necessity of coming to some definite judgment
regarding him. We shall see in this scene the beginning of their hostility
to Jesus, which developed into four objections: (1) alleged blasphemy; (2)
intercourse with publicans and sinners; (3) supposed neglect of ascetic
duties, such as washings, fastings, etc.; (4) alleged violation of the
And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. That is to say, the
power of God the Father was then working in Jesus to perform miracles (John
14:10). Some take this as implying that other miracles had been wrought
that day, before the arrival of the paralytic. But the words are more likely
a preface for what follows; in which case the meaning is that the cold
disbelief of the Pharisees did not prevent Jesus from working miracles, as
disbelief usually did (Matthew
5:18 And behold,
men bring on a bed a man that was palsied1: and they
sought to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
And behold, men bring on a bed a man that was palsied. See Mark
5:19 And not
finding by what [way] they might bring him in because of the multitude1,
they went up to the housetop2, and
let him down through the tiles with his couch into the midst before Jesus3.
And not finding by what [way] they might bring him in because of the
multitude. See Mark
They went up to the housetop. They went up by means of the stairs
in the porch, or by ascending to the roof of an adjoining house, and
stepping across to the roof of Simon's house. Many commentators assert that
they went up by an outside stairway, erroneously believing that such stairs
are common in Palestine; but they are almost unknown there, and their
presence would only expose the inmates of the house to violence and pillage.
And let him down through the tiles with his couch into the midst before
Jesus. See Mark
5:20 And seeing
their faith, he said, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee1.
And seeing their faith, he said, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees
began to reason, saying, Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive
sins, but God alone?
Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God
alone? See Mark
5:22 But Jesus
perceiving their reasonings, answered and said unto them1,
Why reason ye in your hearts?
But Jesus perceiving their reasonings, answered and said unto them,
Why reason ye in your hearts? See Mark
5:23 Which is
easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say1,
Arise and walk?
Which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say,
Arise and walk? See Mark
5:24 But that ye
may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (he said
unto him that was palsied)1, I say unto thee, Arise, and
take up thy couch, and go unto thy house.
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to
forgive sins (he said unto him that was palsied). See Mark
immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay1,
and departed to his house, glorifying God.
And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay.
5:26 And amazement
took hold on all, and they glorified God1; and they were
filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things
And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God, etc. See Mark
We have seen strange things to-day. Literally, seen paradoxes:
things contrary to common thought and ordinary experience.
5:27 And after
these things1 he went forth, and beheld a
publican2, named Levi, sitting at
the place of toll, and said unto him, Follow me3.
THE CALL OF MATTHEW. (At or near Capernaum.) Matthew
And after these things. After the healing of the paralytic.
A publican. See Matthew
Named Levi, sitting at the place of toll, and said unto him, Follow me.
5:28 And he
forsook all, and rose up and followed him1.
And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him. See Mark
5:29 And Levi1
made him a great feast in his house: and there was a
great multitude of publicans and of others2 that were
sitting at meat with them.
MATTHEW'S FEAST. DISCOURSE ON FASTING. (Capernaum.) Matthew
Levi. Another name for the apostle Matthew.
A great multitude of publicans and of others. Matthew had invited
his old friends.
5:30 And the Pharisees and their scribes
murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with the
publicans and sinners?
Why do ye eat and drink with the publicnasd and sinners? See Mark
5:31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They
that are in health have no need of a physician; but they that are sick1.
They that are in health have no need of a physician; but they that are
sick. See Mark
5:32 I am not come
to call the righteous but sinners to repentance1.
I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. See Mark
5:33 And they said unto him, The disciples
of John fast often, and make supplications; likewise also the [disciples] of the
Pharisees; but thine eat and drink.
The disciples of John fast often . . . but thine eat and drink. See
5:34 And Jesus said unto them, Can
ye make the sons of the bride-chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them1?
Can ye make the sons of the bride-chamber fast, while the bridegroom is
with them? See Mark
5:35 But the days
will come1; and when the bridegroom shall be taken away
from them, then will they fast in those days.
But the days will come, etc. See Mark
5:36 And he spake also a parable unto them:
No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth
it upon an old garment1; else he will rend the new, and
also the piece from the new will not agree with the old.
No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old
garment, etc. See Mark
5:37 And no man
putteth new wine into old wine-skins1; else the new wine
will burst the skins, and itself will be spilled, and the skins will perish.
And no man putteth new wine into old wine-skins, etc. See Mark
5:39 And no man
having drunk old [wine] desireth new; for he saith, The old is good1.
And no man having drunk old [wine] desireth new; for he saith, The old
is good. The thought here is that as wine should be put in skins suited
for it, and as, at an entertainment, the different kinds of wine should be
served in appropriate succession; so, fasting should be observed on suitable
occasions--not, for instance, at a wedding.