Page images

At thy word. At thy command. Though it seemed so improbable that they should take any thing after having in vain toiled all night, and still more improbable by launching into the deep, yet he was willing to trust the word of Jesus, and make the trial. This was a remarkable instance of faith. Peter, as it appears, knew little then of Jesus. He was not then a chosen apostle. Jesus came to them almost a stranger, unknown; and yet, at his command, Peter resolved to make another trial, and go once more out into the deep. O if all would as readily obey Jesus, all would be in like manner blessed. If sinners would thus obey him, they would find all his promises sure. He never disappoints. He asks only that we have confidence in him, and he will give to us every needed blessing.

6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

'Their net brake.' Or their net began to break; or was about to break. This is all that is implied in the Greek word. If their nets had actually broken, as our English word seems to imply, the fish would have escaped.

7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

"They beckoned.' They gave signs. "Their partners.' James and John. See ver. 10.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

'When Simon Peter saw it.' Saw the great amount of fishes; the remarkable success of letting down the net. 'He fell down at Jesus' knees.' This was a common posture of supplication. He had no doubt now of the power and knowledge of Jesus. In amazement, and wonder, and gratitude, and not doubting that he was in the presence of some Divine being, he prostrated himself to the earth, trembling and afraid. Depart from me.' This is an expression of Peter's humility, and consciousness of his unworthiness. It was not from want of love to Jesus; it did not show that he would not be pleased with his favour and presence; but it was the result of being convinced that Jesus was a messenger from God: a high and holy being; and he felt that he was unworthy to be in his presence. It was an involuntary, sudden request, and arose from ignorance of the character of Jesus. We are not worthy to be with him; to be reckoned among his friends; or to dwell in heaven with him. But he came to seek the lost, and to save the impure. He graciously condescends to dwell

with those who are humble and contrite, though they are conscious that they are not worthy of his presence. And we may therefore come boldly to him, and ask him to receive us to his home; to an eternal dwelling with him in the heavens.

9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken : 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

'From henceforth.' Hereafter. Shalt catch men.' Shalt be a minister of the gospel; and your business shall be to win men to the truth, that they may be saved.

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

'Forsook all.' It was not much that they left a couple of small boats and their nets: but it was all they had, even all their living. It showed their love of Jesus, and their willingness to deny themselves, as really as if they had forsaken palaces and gold. All that Jesus asks is that we should leave all we have for him; that we should love him more than we do whatever friends or property we may have; and be willing to give them all up when he requires them.

12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13 And he put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will: Be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

See Matt. viii. 2—4.

16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and

the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch, into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21 And the scribes and the pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go unto thine house. 25 And immediately he arose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day.

See this passage explained in Matt. ix. 1-7. 'On a certain day.' The time and place are not particularly mentioned, but from Matt. ix. 1, it seems it was at Capernaum. 'The tiling.' See Matt. ix. 1-7.

27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom : and he said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30 But their scribes and pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

See Matt. ix. 9-13. 'Made him a great feast.' This circumstance Matthew, or Levi, as he is here called, has omitted. It shows how little inclined the evangelists are to say any thing in favour of themselves, or to praise themselves. True religion seeks retirement; delights rather in the consciousness of doing well, than in its being known; and leaves its good deeds to be spoken of, if spoken of at all, by others. See Prov. xxvii. 2. Our Saviour did not refuse to go to this feast, and to go, too, at the risk of being accused as a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, Matt. xi. 19. But his motives were pure. It afforded an opportunity of doing good, and we have no reason to doubt that it was improved by the Lord Jesus. Happy would it be if all the great feasts that are made, were made in honour of our Lord. Happy, if he would be a welcome guest there; and happy if ministers and pious people who attend them conducted themselves as the Lord Jesus did, and they were made the means of advancing his kingdom.

33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the pharisees; but thine eat and drink? 34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 36 ¶ And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

See this passage illustrated in Matt. ix. 14-17. Having drunk old wine,' &c. Wine improves in quality and flavour by age; old wine is therefore preferable. They who had tasted such mild and mellow wine would not readily drink the juice of the grape as it came from the press. The meaning of this proverb here seems to be this: You, pharisees, wish to draw my disciples to austere and rigid duties to fasting, and painful rites. But they have come under a milder system. They have tasted the gentle and tender blessings of the gospel. They have

no relish for your stern and harsh requirements. To teach them to fast, when they see no occasion for it, when they are full of joy at the presence of their Master, would be like putting a piece of new cloth on an old garment, too weak to hold it, or new wine into old leathern bottles; or drinking unpleasant wine, after one had tasted that which was pleasanter. It would all be ill-timed, inappropriate, and incongruous.


1 AND it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn-fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And certain of the pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? 3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; 4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shew-bread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? 5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.


See this passage explained in notes on Matt. xii. 1-14. 'Second sabbath after the first.' See Matt. xii. 1. A literal translation would be, 'on the sabbath called second prime,' or second first sabbath. The first sabbath that occurred after the second day of the feast. 'Rubbing them in their hands.' The word 'corn' here means wheat or barley. They rubbed it in their hands to separate the grain from the chaff.

8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose, and stood forth.

He knew their thoughts, their dark malicious designs, by the question which they proposed to him, whether it was lawful to heal on the sabbath days. Matthew.

9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you ono


« PreviousContinue »