Luke 5

1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God,
2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
5 Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets."
6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.
7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"
9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken;
10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people."
11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
12 Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean."
13 Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I do choose. Be made clean." Immediately the leprosy left him.
14 And he ordered him to tell no one. "Go," he said, "and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them."
15 But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases.
16 But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
17 One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
18 Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus;
19 but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.
20 When he saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you."
21 Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, "Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?
23 Which is easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, "Stand up and walk'?
24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—he said to the one who was paralyzed—"I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home."
25 Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God.
26 Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today."
27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me."
28 And he got up, left everything, and followed him.
29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them.
30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
31 Jesus answered, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick;
32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance."
33 Then they said to him, "John's disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink."
34 Jesus said to them, "You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?
35 The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days."
36 He also told them a parable: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old.
37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.
38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, "The old is good.' "

Luke 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

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.

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. Gk [he]
  • [b]. The terms [leper] and [leprosy] can refer to several diseases
  • [c]. Gk [he]
  • [d]. The terms [leper] and [leprosy] can refer to several diseases
  • [e]. Gk [him]
  • [f]. Other ancient authorities read [was present to heal them]
  • [g]. Gk [him]
  • [h]. Gk [into the midst]
  • [i]. Gk [Man]
  • [j]. Gk [reclining]
  • [k]. Other ancient authorities read [better]; others lack verse 39

Luke 5 Commentaries