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Jesus Calls the First Disciples

 5

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He 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. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So 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. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and 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.” 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

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.” 13Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 14And 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.” 15But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. 16But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

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. 18Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; 19but 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. 20When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 24But 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.” 25Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. 26Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”

Jesus Calls Levi

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.” 28And 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. 30The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

The Question about Fasting

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.” 34Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36He 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. 37And 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. 38But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’ ”


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Lu 5:1-11. Miraculous Draught of FishesCall of Peter, James, and John.

Not their first call, however, recorded in Joh 1:35-42; nor their second, recorded in Mt 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 ship—(See on Mt 13:2).

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 (Joh 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 Lu 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 (Joh 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 Isa 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 this glory?" (See on Mt 4:18.)

11. forsook all—They did this before (Mt 4:20); now they do it again; and yet after the Crucifixion they are at their boats once more (Joh 21:3). In such a business this is easily conceivable. After pentecost, however, they appear to have finally abandoned their secular calling.

Lu 5:12-16. Leper Healed.

(See on Mt 8:2-4.)

15. But so, &c.—(See Mr 1:45).

Lu 5:17-26. Paralytic Healed.

(See on Mt 9:1-8).

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 Jesus—(See on Mr 2:2).

24. take up thy couch—"sweet saying! The bed had borne the man; now the man shall bear the bed!" [Bengel].

Lu 5:27-32. Levi's Call and Feast.

(See on Mt 9:9-13; and Mr 2:14.)

30. their scribes—a mode of expression showing that Luke was writing for Gentiles.

Lu 5:33-39. Fasting.

(See on Mt 9:14-17.)

The incongruities mentioned in Lu 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 Lu 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!




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