The miraculous draught of fishes, Peter, James, and John called. (1-11) A leper cleansed. (12-16) A paralytic cured. (17-26) Levi called, Christ's answer to the Pharisees. (27-39)
Verses 1-11 When Christ had done preaching, he told Peter to apply to the business of his calling. Time spent on week days in public exercises of religion, need be but little hinderance in time, and may be great furtherance to us in temper of mind, as to our worldly business. With what cheerfulness may we go about the duties of our calling, when we have been with God, and thus have our worldly employments sanctified to us by the word and prayer! Though they had taken nothing, yet Christ told them to let down their nets again. We must not abruptly quit our callings because we have not the success in them we desire. We are likely to speed well, when we follow the guidance of Christ's word. The draught of fishes was by a miracle. We must all, like Peter, own ourselves to be sinful men, therefore Jesus Christ might justly depart from us. But we must beseech him that he would not depart; for woe unto us if the Saviour depart from sinners! Rather let us entreat him to come and dwell in our hearts by faith, that he may transform and cleanse them. These fishermen forsook all, and followed Jesus, when their calling prospered. When riches increase, and we are tempted to set our hearts upon them, then to quit them for Christ is thankworthy.
Verses 12-16 This man is said to be full of leprosy; he had that distemper in a high degree, which represents our natural pollution by sin; we are full of that leprosy; from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness in us. Strong confidence and deep humility are united in the words of this leper. And if any sinner, from a deep sense of vileness, says, I know the Lord can cleanse, but will he look upon such a one as me? will he apply his own precious blood for my cleansing and healing? Yes, he will. Speak not as doubting, but as humbly referring the matter to Christ. And being saved from the guilt and power of our sins, let us spread abroad Christ's fame, and bring others to hear him and to be healed.
Verses 17-26 How many are there in our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, who do not sit under the word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent to them. Observe the duties taught and recommended to us by the history of the paralytic. In applying to Christ, we must be very pressing and urgent; that is an evidence of faith, and is very pleasing to Christ, and prevailing with him. Give us, Lord, the same kind of faith with respect to thy ability and willingness to heal our souls. Give us to desire the pardon of sin more than any earthly blessing, or life itself. Enable us to believe thy power to forgive sins; then will our souls cheerfully arise and go where thou pleasest.
Verses 27-39 It was a wonder of Christ's grace, that he would call a publican to be his disciple and follower. It was a wonder of his grace, that the call was made so effectual. It was a wonder of his grace, that he came to call sinners to repentance, and to assure them of pardon. It was a wonder of his grace, that he so patiently bore the contradiction of sinners against himself and his disciples. It was a wonder of his grace, that he fixed the services of his disciples according to their strength and standing. The Lord trains up his people gradually for the trials allotted them; we should copy his example in dealing with the weak in faith, or the tempted believer.
Luke 5:1-11 . MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF FISHES--CALL OF PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN.
Not their first call, however, recorded in John 1:35-42 ; nor their second, recorded in Matthew 4:18-22 ; but their third and last before their appointment to the apostleship. That these calls were all distinct and progressive, seems quite plain. (Similar stages are observable in other eminent servants of Christ.)
3. taught . . . out of the
4. for a draught--munificent recompense for the use of his boat.
5. Master--betokening not surely a first acquaintance, but a relationship already formed.
all night--the usual time of fishing then ( John 21:3 ), and even now Peter, as a fisherman, knew how hopeless it was to "let down his net" again, save as a mere act of faith, "at His word" of command, which carried in it, as. it ever does, assurance of success. (This shows he must have been already and for some time a follower of Christ.)
6. net brake--rather "was breaking," or "beginning to break," as in Luke 5:7 , "beginning to sink."
8. Depart, &c.--Did Peter then wish Christ to leave him? Verily no. His all was wrapt up in Him ( John 6:68 ). "It was rather, Woe is me, Lord! How shall I abide this blaze of glory? A sinner such as I am is not fit company for Thee." (Compare Isaiah 6:5 .)
10. Simon, fear not--This shows how the Lord read Peter's speech. The more highly they deemed Him, ever the more grateful it was to the Redeemer's spirit. Never did they pain Him by manifesting too lofty conceptions of Him.
from henceforth--marking a new stage of their connection with Christ. The last was simply, "I will make you fishers."
fishers of men--"What wilt thou think, Simon, overwhelmed by this draught of fishes, when I shall bring to thy net what will beggar all
11. forsook all--They did this before ( Matthew 4:20 ); now they do it again; and yet after the Crucifixion they are at their boats once more ( John 21:3 ). In such a business this is easily conceivable. After pentecost, however, they appear to have finally abandoned their secular calling.
Luke 5:12-16 . LEPER HEALED.
15. But so, &c.--(See Mark 1:45 ).
Luke 5:17-26 . PARALYTIC HEALED.
17. Pharisees and doctors . . . sitting by--the highest testimony yet borne to our Lord's growing influence, and the necessity increasingly felt by the ecclesiastics throughout the country of coming to some definite judgment regarding Him.
power of the Lord . . . present--with Jesus.
to heal them--the sick people.
19. housetop--the flat roof.
through the tiling . . . before
24. take up thy couch--"sweet saying! The bed had borne the man; now the man shall bear the bed!" [BENGEL].
Luke 5:27-32 . LEVI'S CALL AND FEAST. Mark 2:14
30. their scribes--a mode of expression showing that Luke was writing for Gentiles.
Luke 5:33-39 . FASTING.
The incongruities mentioned in Luke 5:36-38 were intended to illustrate the difference between the genius of the old and new economies, and the danger of mixing up the one with the other. As in the one case supposed, "the rent is made worse," and in the other, "the new wine is spilled," so by a mongrel mixture of the ascetic ritualism of the old with the spiritual freedom of the new economy, both are disfigured and destroyed. The additional parable in Luke 5:39 , which is peculiar to Luke, has been variously interpreted. But the "new wine" seems plainly to be the evangelical freedom which Christ was introducing; and the old, the opposite spirit of Judaism: men long accustomed to the latter could not be expected "straightway"--all at once--to take a liking for the former; that is, "These inquiries about the difference between My disciples and the Pharisees," and even John's, are not surprising; they are the effect of a natural revulsion against sudden change, which time will cure; the new wine will itself in time become old, and so acquire all the added charms of antiquity. What lessons does this teach, on the one hand, to those who unreasonably cling to what is getting antiquated; and, on the other, to hasty reformers who have no patience with the timidity of their weaker brethren!