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§ 303. Christ’s Appearances in Galilee; to the Seven on the Sea of Genesareth.—The Draught of Fishes.—The Conversation with Peter.

We must now briefly compare the narrative of Matthew, which reports Christ’s appearances to the disciples in Galilee alone, with that of the other Gospels.819819   With regard to Paul’s statements (1 Cor., xv.), it is probable that he mentioned the appearances of Christ to the Apostles (as more extensively known) up to a certain period, especially his first appearances at Jerusalem, and stopped short; it being unimportant for his purpose to give a complete enumeration, adding only the manifestation which he himself received. Another explanation, however, might be given.

As Matthew’s Gospel records particularly the events of Christ’s ministry, of which Galilee was the theatre, it might be imagined that, for that reason, the theatre of his appearances after the resurrection was also, in that. Gospel, unintentionally transferred to Galilee; this view would ascribe to the tradition inaccuracy as to localities, but not as to the facts themselves. But Matthew coincides most accurately, in this particular, with the account appended to John’s Gospel (ch. xxi.); in which it is stated that the disciples soon retired to Galilee, where Christ reappeared to them. As for internal probability, it is not likely that they remained in the city, in the midst of Christ’s enemies, but rather that they returned to their own land, where dwelt most of Christ’s followers and friends. Nor is there any thing impossible in Matthew’s statement that Christ bade them return for a season to Galilee, where he could have quiet and undisturbed intercourse with them. Their return thither being once admitted as natural in itself, it would naturally follow that Christ should appear often in order to prevent them from forgetting their high calling amid the cares of life; and, what was most important, to repeat to them the promise (before given at Jerusalem) of the gift of the Holy Ghost, to fit them for the duties of that calling.

Seven of the disciples820820   John, xxi. The account in this chapter was, in all probability, received from John’s own lips, and written down, after his death, by one of his disciples. There is no ground to question its credibility as a whole. were fishing in the Sea of Genesareth. During the whole night they caught nothing. Early in the morning Jesus appeared and asked them, kindly, as was his wont, “Children, have ye any meat?” When they replied in the negative, he bade them cast the net anew on the right side of the vessel. John was the first to recognize the voice of Jesus. The hasty Peter could not wait until the vessel reached the shore, but swam over.

After the repast, Christ gently reminded Peter of his promise, so precipitately made, and so soon broken: “Lovest thou me more than these?” Peter replied, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” 435Then said Christ, “Feed my lambs821821   Referring either to the preaching of the Gospel in general, or in particular to the supervision of the first congregations, inasmuch as Peter, especially, had the χάρισμα κθβερνήσεως. (prove your love by acts).” On Christ’s third repetition of the question, Peter felt its force, and exclaimed, in grief, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” The Saviour again repeated the injunction, “Feed my lambs;” and added, as a proof of confidence in Peter’s fidelity, that at some future time he would have to sacrifice his life in the faithful discharge of his calling.

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