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Bible Commentaries
Luke 5

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-7

31-32 Compare Mat_4:13-17 ; Mar_1:21-22 .

31 His rejection in "His own country" led to His making Capernaum "His own city". From this as a base, He circled about on His evangelistic tours, returning thither at their end. Much of His work was done in it, for it was on some of the main highways of traffic.

33-35 Compare Mar_1:23-26 .

33 Since the serpent deceived Eve in Eden, man has been subject, to some extent, to the spirits of the unseen world. One of the most marked features of the millennial eon is the absence of the evil influences which now actuate mankind from without. Satan will then be bound. Subordinate spirits will not be able to prey on humanity. To inaugurate this kingdom Messiah must be able to cope with demons and destroy their power over its subjects. Hence, every time that He cast out demons by His word, it was a sign that the kingdom of God was near, and that the King was present to dispossess the evil powers that opposed Him.

34 It is a sad commentary on the darkness of the human heart, when the demons show an intelligence far superior to the people who possessed the special revelation which was given to identify the Messiah. They wondered and questioned, but the demons knew Him and dared not disobey His word. Peter needed a special revelation from God to teach Him who Christ was, yet these wicked spirits knew and acknowledged that He was the Christ, the Son of God. So far is spirit superior to flesh that these demons readily recognized His divine Sonship, while few of His professed followers fully entered Into His messIanic glories.

38-39 Compare Mat_8:14-15 ; Mar_1:29-31 .

38 A fever usually runs its course. Indeed, it is dangerous to stop it. So the ills of mankind will never be cured of a sudden until the great Physician speaks the word. When He appears again Israel will be in the most awful pressure, but will be relieved the moment He arrives. Then they will serve Him as never before. Not only will bodily ills be healed, but the social and political diseases that mar man's day will disappear when He is on the scene.

40-41 Compare Mat_8:16-17 ; Mar_1:32-34 .

42-44 Compare Mar_1:35-39 .

44 No one who attentively reads the accounts of our Lord's ministry will fail to wonder why He confined Himself to Galilee and never evangelized the cities of Judea. Except for His seven visits to Jerusalem and journeys to Bethany beyond Jordan, it appears as if He absolutely ignored the most important section of the nation in His heralding. On His journeys to and from Jerusalem He taught and healed, but, in accepted texts and versions, we have no account whatever of any proclamation in the synagogues of Judea. The solution of this lies in the reading we have followed in this passage. Both of our best manuscripts read Judea here instead of Galilee. The fact that Matthew and Mark speak of a journey through Galilee at about this time is no clear proof that He did not visit Judea also. These so-called parallel passages explain why some manuscripts have the reading Galilee. It Is an attempt to "harmonize" what appears to be a discrepancy. It is not at all likely that it would be changed to Judea when the other accounts read Galilee. The editor has personally checked the reading in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus MSS. That these two great manuscripts should have this reading unchallenged by correctors or editors seems to be proof sufficient to sustain it. It is a relief to know that He did not absolutely ignore that part of the country which, in some respects, had the greatest claim on His ministry. Our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and could hardly complete His course without proclaiming to His own tribe.

1-3 Compare Mat_4:18 ; Mar_1:16 .

4 See Joh_21:1-8 .

4 There are three principal methods of fishing spoken of in the Scriptures. There was the hook and line ( Mat_17:27 ) with which Peter caught the fish that had the poll-tax money in its mouth. There was the seine, or drag net Mat_13:47 ), which was played out from a boat and dragged to the shore. Then there were other, smaller nets, operated from boats. These had to be used at night. It was considered foolish to even attempt to net fish in the day time. Hence Peter's mild remonhttp: strance. If they could not catch any fish at night, why even try in broad daylight? But Peter is impressed by the One who spoke as no man ever spoke, and did as he was bid, without the least expectation. It would be difficult to imagine his awe and consternation at the enormous catch. To fill two boats with a single catch would be almost a miracle at night. It certainly demonstrated that the Man Who bade them do it was the most remarkable Fisherman they had ever seen! And this was the purpose of the miracle: to portray Him as the great Fisher of men, and to set forth His ministry. The fish represent the disciples that He caught during His proclamation of the kingdom. The broken net pathetically pictures His sufferings for their sakes. Even the action of Peter and John in salvaging the fish and the submergence of the ships are significant of their ministries in the eras that followed His death.

Verses 8-26

8-11 Compare Mat_4:19-22 ; Mar_1:20 .

11 This is the marvelous manner in which He recalls them. In a few minutes He gives them a preview of the mission which they are to fill, and then summons them to go fishing with Him. Henceforth they will catch men.

12-14 Compare Mat_8:1-4 ; Mar_1:40-44 .

12 What a series of striking contrasts do we see in this scene! A loathsome leper with a vigorous and wholesome spirit, which does not doubt the Lord's ability, yet leaves Him to work His will. Whoever should touch him would be defiled and unclean. Instead, the One Who touches him not only remains undefiled but cleanses the leper! The priests should have hearkened to the prophet like Moses. Instead they are given the testimony of an outcast! The cleansing of a leper included a beautiful type of the death and resurrection of Christ (Lev.14).

Two birds were taken, one was killed and the other, dipped in its blood, was set free to fly into the heavens. Besides this, the priest must offer various sacrifices and anoint his ear and hand and foot and head with oil, a symbol of the spirit. This erstwhile leper must have made good use of this timely opportunity to testify to the priests at Jerusalem, during the days of his cleansing.

15-16 Compare Mar_1:45 .

17-26 Compare Mat_9:1-8 ; Mar_2:1-12 .

17 The fame of the Lord must have been very great at this time to gather so large and so representative a throng. Galilee alone had over two hundred villages, according to Josephus, and we may suppose that Judea had at least half as many. It is notable that, though He did not go about in Judea as He did in Galilee, the Judeans came to Him.

18 There is nothing unusual in the setting of this scene for an Oriental. To let down a bed through the steep roofs usually found in the West would be a feat in itself. But Eastern houses had flat roofs with battlements, easily accessible, often by a staircase on the side, and a place of continual resort. The roofing was readily removed, and this was often done in taking a corpse out of the house, for they had a superstitious fear of carrying a dead man through the doors.

20 A well man could hardly have pressed his way into the presence of the Lord in such a crowd, so what could a poor paralytic do? But the faith of the friends was far from paralyzed. It was very vigorous, indeed. It was manifested by their act. And it was this faith, rather than the pitiable paralysis of the patient, that challenged the attention of the Lord. Such faith was far more than sufficient for the healing of his body. So He ignores his paralysis and addresses Himself to its cause. Disease is the result of sin. This is true racially rather than individually. As individuals, our sufferings are not confined to the result of our own sins, but spring from the most complex combinations of heredity and environment. In the kingdom health will be an effect, not a cause, and the basis will be the pardon of sins. The lesser is included in the greater.

24 Pardon is executive clemency based on authority . Only a high government official can pardon. Sin can be pardoned only by God and the One to Whom He delegates this authority. His mastery of paralysis proves that He can pardon sins. This proclaims Him the Son of

Mankind, the coming One Who can banish both sin and sickness from the earth. This will not be fully accomplished until the final consummation.

Verses 27-39

21-28 Compare Mat_9:9 ; Mar_2:13-14 .

21 Human wisdom and expedience would have urged our Lord to choose for His apostles men of the highest character and reputation. Instead, He chooses those that were despised and abhorred. Not without cause were the collectors of revenue for Rome hated for their traitorous occupation and extortionate greed. John the baptist, in telling them to assess no more than what had been prescribed (313), pointed out their most reprehensible practice. They collected far in excess of the government's requirements and kept the balance themselves. This opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of their fellow-countrymen was the only motive which could tempt a Jew into this hated occupation. They were always classed with sinners. Our Lord does not seek to cover His call of Levi, or Matthew, as he is usually named. He goes right to the tribute office and takes him from his work. He does not wait until He can meet him elsewhere, or until he changes his occupation, or has been put on probation. It is evident that He wishes to impress the people with the fact that He came to call the unrighteous and sinners, in order to magnify God's love and mercy rather than His justice.

29-82 Compare Mat_9:10-13 ; Mar_2:15-11 .

31 What subtle irony there is in these words! The Pharisees and scribes were foully diseased within in spite of their pious appearance. Yet their ailment was like some insidious plague that deadens the nerves to its presence. The truth remains, the Lord could not call those who thought themselves whole, however serious their real condition.

33-35 Compare Mat_9:14-15 ; Mar_2:18-20 .

33 How little did they realize the privilege of His presence! Not even John, let alone the Pharisees, could provide a spiritual banquet. Why should they have a physical feast?

36 Compare Mat_9:16 ; Mar_2:21 .

37-39 Compare Mat_9:17 ; Mar_2:22 .

36 The Pharisees were trying to patch up their old cloak by tearing apiece from His new one. Their old skin bottles were empty and decayed. They had no joy and the forms which once contained it had become corrupted and decayed. The wine the Lord gave them was full of cheer and gladness, and could not find expression in fasting and asceticism. All this was said, doubtless, at the reception of Levi, to defend the feasting and the joy, and to dispel the gloom which they sought to cast over it.

1-5 Compare Mat_12:1-8 ; Mar_2:23-28 ; Deu_23:25: .

1 The somewhat enigmatical word second-first in the Greek has proved so inexplicable that many texts have omitted it, and few editors retain it. Many explanations have been offered, but most of them are based on conjecture. The solution seems simple. The Jews had several sabbaths besides the seventh day of the week. The fifteenth and the twenty-first of Nisan were sabbaths, being the first and last days of the festival of Unleavened Bread. When the weekly sabbath came on the sixteenth, two sabbaths would come together, one a "great day" ( Joh_19:31 ) , and the next an ordinary sabbath. To distinguish the fifteenth-sixteenth sabbath from the double sabbath a week later it was called the first, and to distinguish the second day from the first it was called the second-first ( Lev_23:6:8 ). This was probably the day of His resurrection.

2 According to the law ( Deu_23:25 ) , the disciples had a perfect right to pluck the ears and eat them, though this is not legal in the Western world. The Pharisees do not object to that, but to the act of rubbing, which they interpreted as work unlawful on the sabbath day. If we tear off the mask, we shall find that they were breaking the law, not the disciples. It was probably the festival of Unleavened Bread. The disciples eating the grain as it came from the stalks, certainly ate unleavened bread! But, in the spiritual realm, hypocrisy is leaven ( Luk_12:1 ), and they were guilty of hypocrisy, they were using leaven, at the very beginning of the feast, which was unlawful!

3 Though the disciples had committed no breach of the law, what if they had? The priests labor in the temple, David ate before God ( 1Sa_21:1-6 ), and they were in the presence of the Lord of the Sabbath HImself. If He is not offended, why should they be?

6-11 Compare Mat_12:9-14 ; Mar_3:1-6 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 5". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/luke-5.html. 1968.
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