|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-11 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.
Verse 1. - And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God. His fame as a great Teacher was evidently now firmly established. If it were known that he intended speaking in public, a crowd of listeners would gather quickly round him, whether in the synagogues, or by the lake-shore, or in the market-place. He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret. On this occasion, as he taught by the quiet lake waters, the throng was so great that he borrowed the fishing-boat of one of his friends, and, just pushing out from the shore, spoke to the multitude from the little craft as it rocked on the wavelets of the lake. Dean Stanley calls it "the most sacred sheet of water which the earth contains." The rabbinical derivation is interesting: "Gannesarim, garden of princes;" but it is more probable that Gennesaret is but a reproduction of the old Hebrew name Chinneroth (Joshua 12:3), so called from its harplike shape. It is a beautiful sheet of water, twelve or thirteen miles long and nearly seven broad at one portion of the lake. The Jordan flows through it. In our Lord's time it was surrounded by the richest and most populous district of the Holy Land; large and flourishing towns were built along its shores. Capernaum, as has been said, was the junction of the great roads leading from Syria and the far East to the Mediterranean on the west, and Jerusalem and Egypt on the south. The lake was famous for its fish, and was crowded with all descriptions of craft. The whole scene is now changed. Scarcely a rude boat is ever seen on the blue silent waters. Desolate ruins fringe the deserted shores, with here and there a crumbling mud village, inhabited by the poorest and least enterprising of peasants, so sadly changed is this beautiful and wealthy district, which the rabbis used to love to speak of as the one among the seven seas of Canaan which God had reserved for himself.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon him,.... As Christ went through Galilee, and preached in the synagogues there, great crowds of people attended on him, and they followed him wherever he went; and so large were their numbers, and so very eager were they to see him, and hear him, that they were even troublesome to him, and bore hard upon him, and were ready to press him down, though they had no ill design upon him, but only
to hear the word of God; the scriptures of the Old Testament explained, and the doctrines of the Gospel preached; and which were preached by him, as never were before or since, and in such a manner as were not by the Scribes and Pharisees; and both the matter and manner of his ministry drew a vast concourse of people after him:
he stood by the lake of Gennesaret; the same with the sea of Chinnereth, Numbers 34:11 where the Targums of Onkelos, Jonathan, and the Jerusalem, call it, , "the sea of Geausar" or "Gennesaret": and so it is elsewhere called (a), and is the same which is called the sea of Galilee, and of Tiberias, John 6:1 and is, by other writers (b), as here, called the lake of Gennesaret, and said to be sixteen miles long, and six broad. Josephus says (c), it is forty furlongs broad, and an hundred long. The Jews say (d), that
"the holy, blessed God created seven seas, but chose none of them all, but the sea of Gennesaret.''
And indeed, it was a place chosen by Christ, and honoured, and made famous by him, by his preaching at it, his miracles upon it, and showing himself there after his resurrection.
(a) Targum in Ezekiel 39.11. Zohar in Gen. fol. 3. 2. & 17. 2. & in Exod. fol. 52. 4. & 61. 4. (b) Plin. l. 5. c. 15. Solin, c. 48. Ptolom. l. 5. c. 15. (c) De Bello Jud. l. 3. c. 18. (d) Pirke Eliezer, c. 18.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Lu 5:1-11. Miraculous Draught of Fishes—Call 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.)
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