« VorigeDoorgaan »
party noticed by John in the last chapter, or appendix to his Gospel; consisting of James and his brother John, “ the sons of Zebedee, Peter, Thomas, and Nathaniel, and two others of the disciples.” The proposal to fish was made by Peter, and agreed to by the rest; and we may naturally place it on the ensuing Sunday, or twenty-ninth day. The day after the sabbath was a likely day to want provisions, John xxi. 1, 2.
They fished during the night of Saturday, after Sunday began, but took nothing. When the morning dawn had commenced, and they were near the shore, JESUS stood there, and said, Dear children *, have ye any thing to eat? They answered No; then said he, Cast your net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They did so, and now they were not able to draw up the net, for the multitude of fishes inclosed therein. Struck with the resemblance of this to OUR LORD's former miracle, when he called them to his service, and promised to make them fishers of men, (Luke v. 3-11,) John sagaciously observed to Peter, It is THE LORD! Whereupon Peter, in his eagerness to meet him, put on his fisher's coat, that he might not appear naked or undressed, and threw himself into the sea, and swam to land, while the rest came after him in their boat, (adotapıq,) drawing the net to shore; from which they were distant two hundred cubits, or about a hundred yards, John xxi. 3-8.
As soon as they landed, they saw a charcoal fire, and a small fish, (o4aplov,) laid thereon to broil, and bread, provided miraculously, for their entertainment. Then said JESUS, as if this was apparently too small for the company, Bring hither now some of the small fishes that ye have taken. Simon then, with the rest, went up into the boat, and dragged the net to shore, full of an hundred and fifty-three great fishes ti and although there were so many, yet the net was not broken, John xxi. 9-11.
It has been observed by Oppian, in his Halieutics, or Poem on Fishing, and by able naturalists, that the different known species of fishes amount to that number, of an hundred and fifty-three; whence it might be inferred, that persons of all na
• The diminutive paidia is expressive of fondness, like rekvia, John xiii. 33. It is so used by John himself, 1 John ii. 14–18.
+ Hasselquist, speaking of the fish found in the lake of Galilee, says, that one species, the charmud or karmud, often weighs thirty pounds.
tions, ranks, and conditions were to be included within the pale of the Christian Church.
JESUS said to them, Come hither, and breakfast. But none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh up to them, and taketh the bread, and giveth to them, and the small fish likewise. And probably on this occasion also he ate and drank with them, as implied in his hospitable invitation. He did not, perhaps, use any of their fish, that the entertainment might be solely his own ; and to signify, perhaps, from small beginnings, like the little fish, assisted by his grace, how great would be their future
The great fishes taken on this occasion might also be designed as a providential supply for their families during the absence of the Apostles themselves, who were immediately to return to Jerusalem, and wait there till the day of Pentecost, and then to enter upon their public functions, destined to return home to domestic life no more, John xxi. 12, 13.
This was the third public appearance of Christ to his disciples, noticed by John, xxi. 14; but the fourth, noticed by Paul, including the first to Peter singly, 1 Cor. xv. 5—7: the former omitting the appearance in Galilee, and the latter the appearance to the ten Apostles on the evening of the resurrection. The authority of Paul is sufficient for the present arrangement, by which all the seeming variations are satisfactorily reconciled.
The ensuing interesting conversation of our LORD with Peter was founded on his forwardness to meet him, in the ardour of his zeal. It seems to have been graciously designed to reinstate Peter, publicly, in that Apostleship which he had abdicated by his denials; to the number of which, the question thrice repeated, Simon, son of Jonah *, lovest thou me ? obviously alluded. Peter's humility now was as conspicuous as his presumption before. He modestly disclaimed any pretensions to superior attachment, “ more than these," or above the rest of the company; and appealed to CHRIST himself, as the SEARCHER OF HEARTS, only for the truth of his attachment, LORD, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee, when grieved by the repetition of the question, as if intimating
Though Simon was really the son of Jonah, there might be, perhaps, a remote allusion to his predecessor Jonah the prophet's fall and repentance, who was of Gath-hepher, in Galilee, and perhaps might have been the ancestor of the Apostle.
some distrust of his sincerity. Christ's triple commission to him, first to “ feed my lambs,” or the weakest of the flock, and twice, “ pasture and feed my sheep,” significantly shewed that the pastoral care of the whole flock intrusted to his charge, was the surest testimony of loving Himself, the GREAT SHEPHERD, John xxi. 15-17.
And now when Peter was thus formally restored to his rank and dignity, as the first of the Apostles, our Lord forewarned him of the future trials and persecutions to which he should be exposed, in his old age, beautifully contrasted with the recent instance of strength and activity he had shewn in stretching forth his arms to swim to shore. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself with thy fisher's coat, and go freely at large, but when thou shalt grow old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands on the cross, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee to the place of crucifixion against thy will. Thus signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had thus spoken, He said, “ Follow me," as a true disciple, in imitation both of my life and death; evidently alluding to his former injunction, after rebuking him for his worldly-mindedness, “ Whosoever is willing to go after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” Matt. xvi. 23, 24. “ For whosoever doth not carry his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple,” (Luke xiv. 27 ;) John xxi. 18, 19.
John, without waiting for a call, followed JESUS as he walked, by this action signifying his prompt love and zeal for his ailored LORD. Peter, turning about and seeing this, was led, by curiosity, to enquire also the fate of this favourite disciple, and his own particular friend ; and said, What shall become of him? JESUS chid him, with this ambiguous answer, If I chuse that he shall remain in the flesh until I come in judgment on Jerusalem, what is that to thee? Follow thou me; mind thy own concerns. This was misunderstood by the brethren, and a report prevailed among them that John would not die. It was explained by the event of his long outliving the destruction of Jerusalem, John xxi. 20—24.
Immediately after this manifestation, at the Lake of Galilee, we may conclude, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem; and on
the following Sunday, the thirty-sixth day, were favoured with another appearance, which Paul describes to “all the Apostles," 1 Cor. xv. 7, immediately preceding the last, at the ascension, on the fortieth day, or Thursday following. We do not, indeed, presume to erect this arrangement of the several public appearances into a theory, but it may be allowed, surely, to rate as an hypothesis, approximating nearer to the truth than any that has been hitherto proposed; founded upon the probable assumption that THE LORD's day was so denominated from the frequency of his appearances thereon. His last manifestation to the beloved disciple, and not long before his death, was made at Patmos, during his exile there, A.D. 97, certainly on THE LORD's day.
At this important general meeting of the Apostles, our Lord renewed to them, in their collective capacity, the commissions given to their leaders before; and coming up to them, in close conference, he stated his own authority, and their Apostolic functions and powers, more fully and explicitly than heretofore.
All authority is given me in heaven and upon earth. Go ye, therefore, into all the world, publish the GOSPEL to all the [human) creation. Discipline all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the FATHER, and of the Son, and of the HOLY SPIRIT ; and teaching them to keep all my commandments delivered unto you. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth, shall be damned.
And these signs shall accompany the believers ; they shall expel demons, in my name; they shall speak in new tongues ; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly potion, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
And lo, I am with you all the days [of the Church,] until the consummation of the world. Amen. Matt. xxviii. 18-20, Mark xvi. 15—18.
He now appointed the last meeting for the following Thursday, the fortieth day from the resurrection, at Jerusalem ; and there being associated with them he instructed them not to leave Jerusalem immediately, but to wait for the fulfilment of the promise of THE FATHER, which they had heard from him: And lo, I am going to send forth the promise of my Father upon you ; but remain ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye shall be endued with power from on high : for John indeed baptized
with water, but ye shall be baptized with THE HOLY SPIRIT, not many days hence, Acts i. 4, 5; Luke xxiv. 49.
Then he led them forth from the city to the Mount of Olives, as far as the district of Bethany, which began a sabbath day's journey, or six hundred paces from the city; and, according to tradition, he went up to the middle summit of the mountain, Luke xxiv. 50; Acts i. 12.
And when they were come together there, they enquired of Him, LORD, wilt thou, at this time, restore again the kingdom to Israel? or establish the spiritual kingdom of THE MESSIAH upon earth, at the regeneration foretold by the prophets, and confirmed by his own repeated predictions. But admitting its future certainty, he gently checked their unseasonable curiosity, respecting the particular time: It is not your concern, to know times and seasons, which THE FATHER reserved in his own power, and which he had told them before, in his prophecies on Mount Olivet, none but THE FATHER himself then knew, (Matt. xxiv, 36; Mark xiii. 32.) He further admonished them that their only concern was what related to their ministry, for which they should be endued with suitable powers to exercise it in the appointed places, again renewing his promise ; But ye shall receive power when THE HOLY SPIRIT shall come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, the scenes of my ministry, and unto the extremity of the earth, or habitable world.
Then lifting up his hands he blessed them, and while he was blessing them he was taken up while they were looking on, and a cloud withdrew him from their sight, into the heaven, and he sate on the right hand of God, Acts i. 6–9; Luke xxiv. 51; Mark xvi. 19.
And while they were gazing into the heaven, as he was departing, with anxiety and grief; to comfort them for his loss, with the hope of a similar return, to restore that kingdom at the regeneration, about which they had so earnestly enquired; two angels in human form, and white apparel, (probably the same who had ministered to the resurrection, and now to the ascension,) stood suddenly beside them, and said, Ye Galileans, why stand ye looking into the heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into the heaven, shall so come, as ye have