Lukan Studies The Gospel of Luke Chapter 5 - New Testament Bible study

Living Word Magazine

Simon Called


 5:1 Now Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing around him to hear the word of God.


The multitudes crowded around Jesus by the Sea Gennesaret to hear the Word of God from Him.


5:2 He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets.


While He was stood by the Lake He saw two boats drawn up to the saw and the fishermen washing their nets.


5:3 He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.


Because of the press of the crowd Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon and asked him to go a little away from the shore. Jesus then used the boat as His pulpit so that He could continue to teach the people.


5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch."


When He had finished speaking  Jesus told Simon to take his boat out into the deeper water and there let down his nets to catch the fish.


5:5 Simon answered, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word I will lower the nets."


It is to be remembered that Simon did not know who Jesus was and that by trade He was a carpenter and would therefore naturally speaking not know anything about fishing. Simon told Jesus that they had been working hard all night and had not caught one fish. Nevertheless at His Word they were prepared to go out again, in the daytime and do as Jesus said. It would seem that as they were mending the nets Simon had bee listening to the words of Jesus very attentively.


5:6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear.


After they had lowered the nets they drew in such a large catch of fish that their nets were beginning to break.


5:7 So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink.


So great was the catch that they called to their partners in the other boat, Zebedee and his sons James and John, to help them. Both the boats were so filled with fish that the boats nearly sank.


5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"


When Simon Peter saw this mighty miracle he fell down on his knees at the feet of Jesus overcome by his sense of sin in the awesome presence of Jesus Christ and said "Oh, Lord, please leave me—I'm too much of a sinner to be around You."  (NLT).


5:9 For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.


For not only Simon but all those that were with him were astonished at the catch of fish.


5:10 And so were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people."


So also were James and John Simon's partners in the other boat. Jesus tells Simon Peter not to be afraid of Him as from now on he would be catching men. Here we have the call of Simon Peter not only to be a disciple of Jesus Christ but also his commission to preach the Gospel to all men. We have the record of this in Acts 2:38-41.


5:11 So when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.


When they had brought their boats to shore they left them there and gave up their fishing for good to follow Jesus and become His disciples. That would be Simon, Andrew, James and John.


The Healing of a Leper.


5:12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came to him who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed down with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."


On another day Jesus was in a certain city, believed to be Capurnium, when a man full of leprosy seeing Him came up to Him which was against the Law (Numbers 5:2, Leviticus 13:45). The man fell down on his face before Jesus Christ and being full of faith that Jesus was able to heal cried "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."


5:13 So he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing. Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.


Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man saying " I am willing, be healed"  The leprosy immediately left him and he was completely healed.


5:14 Then he ordered the man to tell no one, but commanded him, "Go and show yourself to a priest, and bring the offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."


Jesus commanded the man to tell no one that he had been healed or who healed him. But to go and show himself to the priest and make an offering for his cleansing which was according to the Law (Leviticus 14:1-7).


5:15 But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds were gathering together to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses.


But despite Jesus' instructions the report of His power to heal even lepers spread even faster and so the multitudes that came to hear Him and be healed grew larger.


5:16 Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.


Jesus frequently withdrew from the multitudes into the desert to pray.


Jesus Forgives Sin


5:17 Now on one of those days, while he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting nearby (who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem), and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.


On one of those days when Jesus was teaching some Pharisees and teachers of the law who came from every town from Galilee. Judea and Jerusalem were sitting near to hear Him.   The healing power of the Lord was present with Jesus.


5:18 Just then some men showed up, carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. They were trying to bring him in and place him before Jesus.


Some men came to Him bring a man on a bed who was paralyzed. They tried to think out how they could get the man to Jesus.


5:19 But since they found no way to carry him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on the stretcher through the roof tiles right in front of Jesus.


When they could not find anyway to get through the crowds they took the man up on the housetop removed the tile and lowered the man down through the roof at the feet of Jesus.


5:20 When Jesus saw their faith he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."


When Jesus saw the faith that the paralized man and his friends had looking beyond the physical need to the condition of the man's soul He said to him "Man, your sins are forgiven you."


5:21 Then the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to think to themselves, "Who is this man who is uttering blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"


The Scribes and Pharisees who were sitting around on hearing Him say these words to the man reasoned within themselves as to who this Jesus of Nazareth thinks he as. It is only God that can forgive sins and for any man to say otherwise is to blaspheme.


5:22 When Jesus perceived their hostile thoughts, he said to them, "Why are you raising objections within yourselves?


Jesus reading their thoughts asks them why they were reasoning this thing that He had done in their hearts.


5:23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'?


What is easier to say "Your sins are forgiven" or "Rise up and walk". Jesus was not expecting an answer from them and therefore continues,


5:24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" — he said to the paralyzed man — "I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher and go home."


So that they may know that the "Son of Man" has the power to forgive sins on earth He turns to the paralyzed man, speaks the all powerful word "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house."


5:25 Immediately he stood up before them, picked up the stretcher he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.


The man instantly got up took the bed he was lying on and went home giving glory to God. The scribes and the Pharisees only saw Jesus as a man, a carpenter, the son of Joseph not as the Son of God.  "Though He was really a man, and the son of man, yet He was God as well as man; He was God manifest in the flesh" (Gill). As the Son of God He had power to forgive sins.  


There were three miracles to the healing of this paralyzed man. His sins were forgiven him, the discernment of the inner thoughts of the scribes and Pharisees and of course his healing.


5:26 Then astonishment seized them all, and they glorified God. They were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen incredible things today."


All the people were overwhelmed with amazement and magnified the Lord God. Being filled with fear declaring among themselves that they had seen very strange things happen. The word used for "strange things" in the original is "paradox" which means "something that appears false and absurd, but is not really so:" Something that seems contrary to truth but is in fact the truth.


Matthew Called


5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth. "Follow me," he said to him.


After the healing of the paralysed man Jesus went out from the house and saw one of the despised tax collectors named Levi the son of Alphaeus also called Matthew.   He was sat at his usual place near the sea shore ready to collect the tax for the Romans.  Jesus turned to him and simply said "follow me".


5:28 And he got up and followed him, leaving everything behind.


Without any hesitation Matthew completely abandoned his office and everything connected to it and followed Jesus.


5:29 Then Levi gave a great banquet in his house for Jesus, and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them.


It would have been sometime after his call, not the same day, that Matthew held a great feast to which he invited many of his old tax collector acquaintances and many others with them. As Jesus was also present it can be safely assumed that the purpose of Matthew having this feast was to give his guests an opportunity to hear the words of Jesus and to witness his own conversation. After this feast Matthew would have had no more to do with his old friends unless they to had become followers of Jesus.


5:30 But the Pharisees and their experts in the law complained to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"


The scribes and Pharisees approached the disciples of Jesus to complain about them eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners.


5:31 Jesus answered them, "Those who are well don't need a physician, but those who are sick do.


It was Jesus who answered them by using a well known proverb. A person who is well does not need a doctor it is only those who are sick that do.


5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."


In this verse Jesus makes known His purpose in coming into the world. He has come to call sinners to repentance and not the righteous. Or rather who think they are righteous for God has declared that no one is righteous in His sight (Romans 3:10, Psalm 14:2-3).


A Question about Fasting


5:33 Then they said to him, "John's disciples frequently fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours continue to eat and drink."


The answer that Jesus gave to the scribes and Pharisees seem to go right over their heads for they then ask Him why it is that John the Baptist disciples often fast and pray but His own do not.


5:34 So Jesus said to them, "You cannot make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?


Jesus in turn asks them if the friends of the bridegroom fast while celebrating his wedding. Of course they don't it would be an affront to the bridegroom.


5:35 But those days are coming, and when the bridegroom is taken from them, at that time they will fast."


This verse makes it very clear that Jesus is referring to Himself as the bridegroom. He speaks of the day when He would be taken away from His disciples by His death on the cross and then would be the time for them to fast and pray.


New is Better than Old


5:36 He also told them a parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old garment. If he does, he will have torn the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.


Jesus then tells them a parable. If you need to repair an old garment you do not take a new piece of cloth to patch it up with. There are two reasons for this. First the new piece of cloth will tear away from the old and secondly the new piece will not match with the old.


5:37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.


No one with any sense will put new wine into old wineskins for as the new wine ferments it will burst the old wineskins and be lost.


5:38 Instead new wine must be poured into new wineskins.


New wine must be put into new wineskins for as the wine ferments the new skins will expand.


5:39 No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is good enough.' "


No one who has ever drunk old wine will want to drink new wine straightaway.   The old in the parable is the Old Testament, the old covenant and the new is of course the New Testament (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:15, 2 Corinthians 3:6).


There were those like the disciples and the common people who had already accepted the new covenant while there were those like the scribes and Pharisees who were satisfied with the old covenant and were not prepared to accept the new, that is, Jesus Christ.  


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