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 6:53.
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
- 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
- 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 were breaking1;
- 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 ships.
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 33:20-23; Exodus 20:18,19);
and though there have been exceptions where men have seen God or his
representatives and lived (Exodus 24:9-11; Judges 6:21-23; Judges 13:22,23; Isaiah 6:1-5
Daniel 10:16-19 Genesis 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 1:17; Job 42:5,6).
5:9 For he was amazed, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken1;
- 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
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 1:19.
- Fear not. See Luke 1:30.
- 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 the gospel.
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 1:20.
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 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16
- 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 1:40.
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 1:41.
- Straightway the leprosy departed from him. See Mark 1:42.
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 8:4.
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 1:45.
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 thanksgiving.
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 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26
- And it came to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching. See Mark 2:1.
- 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 sabbath.
- 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 13:58; Matthew 16:1-4).
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 2:3.
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 2:4.
- 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 2:4.
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. See Mark 2:5.
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 2:7.
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 2:8.
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 2:9.
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 2:10.
5:25 And 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. See Mark 2:12.
5:26 And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God1; and they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day2.
- And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God, etc. See Mark 2:12.
- 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 9:9; Mark 2:13,14; Luke 5:27,28
- And after these things. After the healing of the paralytic.
- A publican. See Matthew 5:46.
- Named Levi, sitting at the place of toll, and said unto him, Follow me. See Mark 2:14.
5:28 And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him1.
- And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him. See Mark 2:14.
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.
Matthew 9:10-17; Mark 2:15-22; Luke 5:29-39
- 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 2:16.
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 2:17.
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 2:17.
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 Mark 2:18.
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 2:19.
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 2:20.
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 2:21.
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 2:22.
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.