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Jesus in the Land of Gennesaret

The; people of Gennesaret, so soon as they knew Matt. xiv. 34-36. that Jesus had landed upon their coasts, bring unto Him their sick, who are healed by only touching the Mark vi. 53-56. hem of His garment. Those whom He had fed, and John vi. 22-59. who had spent the night upon the eastern shore, now returning seek Him at Capernaum, whither He goes. In answer to their question how He came over the sea, He discourses to them concerning the bread of life. His words are so offensive to many of His disciples John vi. 60-66.

that they henceforth forsake Him. The Twelve con- John vi. 67—^l.

timie with Him, but He declares that one of them is a

devil.

The language of Matthew and of Mark is so express in connecting these miracles of healing with the return after the feeding of the five thousand, that there is no room for doubt that they then took place. It is not, however, necessary to regard their statements as descriptive of an activity confined to that one day, but rather embracing the whole period after His return till He again departed. All the accounts of this period indicate that He had now come to the culminating point of His labors. Never was His popularity so great, and never His mighty power so marvellously displayed. He could go nowhere, into country, or village, or city, that they did not bring the sick into the streets, that they might at least touch the hem of His garment; " and as many as touched were made perfectly whole." The fact that the men of Gennesaret " sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto Him all that were diseased," (Matt. xiv. 35,) indicates their great confidence in His ability and willingness to heal all that should be brought to Him ; and perhaps also that, according to His custom, He would'soon depart to other fields of labor.

Of those who had been present among the five thousand, some, and probably many, remained in the villages and towns on the eastern shore during the night. These, knowing that His disciples had departed the evening before for Capernaum, and left Him behind, naturally expected to find Him in the morning somewhere on that side of the lake. Not finding Him, they take boats, apparently boats that had been sent over by the boatmen from Tiberias for passengers, (John vi. 23,) and go to Capernaum, as His usual residence, to find Him. As He had landed very early upon the plain of Gennesaret, for it was about the fourth watch when He met the disciples, He had probably, ere their arrival, reached the city. The discourse concerning the bread of life was spoken in the synagogue at Capernaum, (John vi. 59,) and most probably upon the Sabbath. Still* no certain inference can be drawn from this mention of the synagogue, as it was used for teaching upon other days than the Sabbath.1 Wieseler (276) makes the feeding of the five thousand to have been on the 14th Nisan or 16th April, at the same time when the paschal lamb was eaten at Jerusalem ; and this day, therefore, was the 15th Nisan, or the first feast Sabbath.2 But this is inconsistent with the notice of John, (vi. 4,) that the Passover was nigh, which implies that an interval of a day at least, if not of days, intervened.

This discourse of the Lord so offended many of His disciples that from this time they walked no more with Him. The answer of Peter to the question addressed to the Twelve, " Will ye also go away," marks a crisis in their relations to Him. Now for the first time, so far as we know, there was a defection among His disciples. His teachings were too hard for them, even when confirmed by such great miracles. But it was His words, not His works, that held the Twelve faithful. " Thou hast the -words of eternal life," said Peter. The right reading of the confession of Peter immediately following is, according to Tischendorf,3 "And we believe and are sure that thou art the Holy One of God." This confession is to be distinguished from that made later, (see Matt. xvi. 16,) which displays a higher knowledge of the mystery of the Lord's person.

1 Winer, ii. 549. a So Tischendorf, xxxiii.

3 So also Meyer and Alford; Ellicott undecided.