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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
Luke 5

 

 


Verse 16

THE MINISTRY BEGUN

AT NAZARETH (Luke 4:16-30)

It was the custom for visitors to be granted the privilege of reading the Scriptures on such occasions (Luke 4:16-17), and Jesus read from Isaiah 61. Perhaps it was not the appointed portion for that day, which may explain the last sentence of Luke 4:20. However, when He began to apply the prophecy to Himself (Luke 4:21), there was astonishment indeed, for nothing like that had ever been heard. Luke 4:23 indicates the state of mind and heart of His hearers. He knew the rejection before Him was such as had been meted out to Elijah and Elisha, and as God had worked by them among the Gentiles so would He do again. This aroused enmity, with the result of Luke 4:29-30. A comparison of Isaiah 61:2, affords an instance of “the exquisite accuracy of Scripture,” since Jesus stopped midway in the verse. The first half is connected with His first Advent and the present dispensation of grace, and the second, with His second Advent and the judgments to follow.

AT CAPERNAUM (Luke 4:31-44)

The leading events here are the casting out of the demon (Luke 4:33-35), and the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother (Luke 4:38-39), both of which are referred to in Mark 1, the second also in Matthew 8. Matthew 4 tells us that Christ made His home at this time at Capernaum, while Luke (Luke 4:23) tells us why. Note in the case of the demon: (1) that demons know their ultimate fate; (2) that Jesus will not receive their testimony to Himself though it be true; and (3) that there is a distinction between them and the persons they inhabit and control. But why were the people amazed (Luke 4:36)? To cast out demons was not new (Matthew 12:27), but the way and the power by which Jesus cast them out was altogether new. Compare the testimony of Nicodemus (John 3:2). Notice Luke 4:40, “He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them,” and also Luke 4:43. What labor it represents!

AT GENNESARET (Luke 5:1-11)

The great draught of fishes is original with Luke, but calls for little comment. But note Peter’s confession of sin in Luke 5:8. Sin, not sins. It is his state of which he speaks, and not particular transgressions. What he is, not what he has done, utterly unfits him for the divine presence, and he can find no comfort in that presence until his old nature has been taken away and a new put in its place. Nor is Luke 5:11 less remarkable. “They forsook all and followed Him” because one who could do what they had just seen done, was able to meet all their needs hence forth including those of their families.

IN A CERTAIN CITY (Luke 5:12-13)

With the exception of Miriam (Numbers 12), this is the first illustration of the healing of leprosy in Israel, where the law of Leviticus 14 could have been acted upon. No wonder the fame of Jesus spread abroad (Luke 5:15)! Who could work this miracle by his own power save the God of Israel?

QUESTIONS

1. Name the geographical divisions of this lesson.

2. Have you examined a map in its study?

3. Can you quote Isaiah 61:1-3?

4. Give in your own words the Old Testament incidents referred to in Luke 4:26-27.

5. What is noticeable about Jesus’ quotation of Isaiah 61:2?

6. Why did Jesus change His residence from Nazareth to Capernaum?

7. What three things do we learn about demons?

8. Quote John 3:2.

9. What is most noticeable in the story of the great draught of fishes?

10. How does the cleansing of the leper prove the deity of Christ?


Verses 17-49

TEACHING

FORGIVENESS OF SIN (Luke 5:17-26)

Comparing this with Mark 2:1, we find it took place in Capernaum, and possibly in the house in which our Lord dwelt (Matthew 9:1). What proof it contains of the deity of Christ.

JESUS’ EARTHLY MISSION (Luke 5:27-32)

Levi, as we saw in Mark 2, is Matthew whose faith in following Jesus is more remarkable than that of Peter, for he had more to relinquish. He soon showed his faith further by his works (Luke 5:29). But though he made “a great feast” for his Lord, yet the latter made a greater one for him and for others like him in Luke 5:32.

FASTING (Luke 5:33-39)

To impose fasting on disciples who were enjoying His presence, would be like patching an old garment with a piece out of a new, and so both would be spoiled. A new era had begun and everything must be in harmony with it. The joy of the disciples could not accommodate itself to old forms and practices. Nevertheless, till others had proved what that joy was, they would naturally be satisfied with practices to which they had been accustomed (Luke 5:39).

THE SABBATH DAY (Luke 6:1-11)

The events of these verses are recorded by Matthew and Mark also, and we need dwell on them but briefly. The Pharisees were not zealous of God’s law but of their traditions super-added to the law, which practically made it of no effect. There was no law of God against doing what Jesus’

disciples did, nor would God command His people to starve because it was the Sabbath. Works of necessity might be done on that day as the Pharisees themselves taught. The disciples were hungry and in want because they were suffering rejection with their Lord. This is the significance of His reference to David, who also was suffering rejection as God’s anointed when he partook of the shewbread and was sinless in so doing.

HAPPINESS AND WOE (Luke 6:12-26)

We do not dwell again on the choice of the twelve (Luke 6:12-16), having spoken of it in Matthew only to observe that Luke records that the night previously our Lord spent in prayer. But at Luke 6:20 he begins to speak of the heavenly calling of those who are rejected on earth. This is not that the earthly kingdom will never be set up or Israel blessed in it, but only that for the time being the called out ones for heaven are addressed (Hebrews 3:1). Four beatitudes are named, poverty, hunger, sorrow, excommunication might be their lot on earth, but great their reward in heaven (Luke 6:20-21). As another puts it, “the antidote is given before the trial comes.”

TREATMENT OF ENEMIES (Luke 6:27-36)

It is natural to think that Luke is here giving a synopsis of the “Sermon on the Mount” recorded more fully in Matthew (chaps. 5-8), but we face the difficulty that these words were spoken “in the plain” (Luke 6:17). Shall we say that the same instruction was given more than once? There is nothing in the verses different from Matthew, and we only note that the whole teaching is not that of righteousness under the law but of grace, which was entirely new to the hearers. Luke 6:30 is not to be taken unqualifiedly but in connection with our treatment of enemies if any of them should even ask aught of us it is to be given.

TREATMENT OF FELLOW-DISCIPLES (Luke 6:37-45)

SUMMING UP (Luke 6:46-49)

QUESTIONS

1. Name the seven subjects of teaching in this lesson.

2. How does the incident first-named prove Christ’s deity?

3. Explain “the new wine in old bottles” in your own language.

4. Where is the parallel between Christ’s disciples and David in the incident of Luke 6:1-11?

5. What experience of our Lord preceded the choice of the Twelve?

6. What is the comparative character of this whole teaching of Christ?

7. Can you quote Luke 6:46?

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Luke 5:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/luke-5.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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