For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough

5:1.  “And it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the Lake of Gennesaret.”

Gennesaret is the Greek name for Chinnereth, meaning a harp.  It is also another name for the Sea of Galilee.  As has been noted, Galilee is always associated with the believing remnant, so it isn’t surprising that the people there were anxious to hear the word of God.

5:2.  “And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.”

Ships in Scripture are symbols of churches: either local, or the Church universal, and the fitness of the symbol is the more apparent when we remember that the sea represents the world of unconverted humanity.  The ship, sailing over the sea, on it but not a part of it, demonstrates that believers, individually and as a corporate body, are in the world, but not of it. 

The number two is the number of testimony, so in this present context the emphasis is upon the need of individual believers, and local churches to be witnesses for Christ.  There is something radically wrong with the believer or the church that is not a witness for Him. 

These two ships may represent both Israel and the Church; and the fact that they were anchored close to shore, or drawn up on the beach, but not engaged in fishing because the fishermen had gone out of them, points very clearly to the truth that then Israel, and today the Church, are spiritually in the same state.  In the days of Christ, almost the end of the Jewish age, Israel’s testimony had ceased.  She was, as it were, lying on the beach, not fishing.  And today, almost the end of the Church age, it is the same with the Church.  She too, lies up on the beach (outwardly separate from the world), but not fishing for men’s souls.

The fishermen very obviously represent both evangelists, and individual believers.  Their having gone out of the ship, points to the truth that today, it is not only the evangelist who has departed from the Church, but also the spirit of evangelism.

They were busy, however, washing their nets, and so is it also today in the Church.  Those who should be fishing for souls, are instead busy “washing their nets.”  They are reading books, listening to tapes, attending seminars, etc., for ever learning how to evangelize, but never actually doing it.

Is it any wonder that these “fishermen” have to give the same report as those literal fishermen long ago, “We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing.”  Sad to say, honesty should compel us to omit the first half of the confession.  We have not toiled at all, never mind all night.  Small wonder that our assemblies are dying. 

The fact that fishing was normally done at night would remind us that this is the time to “fish.”  In the world it is spiritually night time.  But the night is almost ended.  There is little time left to fish.  The appearance of the Lord as the Morning Star is imminent, but as the appearance of the literal morning star heralds the near approach of dawn, so will the Lord’s return to rapture His Church, declare the imminence of His return as the Sun of righteousness just seven years later to set up His millennial kingdom.

5:3.  “And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land.  And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.”

The ship He entered may represent the believing remnant of Israel, which became the nucleus of the Church; the other left lying on the beach, the apostate mass of the nation.

The special significance attached to it’s being Simon’s ship, should be noted, for Simon means hearkening, which speaks of obedience.  Obedience is a prerequisite of the Lord’s presence and blessing.

The request to “thrust out a little from the land,” is also replete with spiritual instruction.  We have noted in other studies that the earth is the symbol of genuine confession of faith; the land, of false profession; and the ground, of total indifference to spiritual things.  The command therefore, to thrust out from the land, translates into the command to be separate from all false profession.  There must be reality about the man who would do business with and for God.  A mere outward form of religion is as abominable to God today as was that of the Jews in the days of Christ.

Simon wasn’t compelled to obey.  The Lord will not compel any man to obey Him.  If we are to render Him service, it must be of our own volition, but he who refuses that obedience robs himself of reward at the Bema.

In His sitting down, and teaching the people out of the ship, we may learn the lesson that as the Lord used that ship, so will He use the individual or the local church of which it is the symbol.  Since sitting is symbolic of rest, we may learn the further lesson that the Lord finds rest wherever He finds obedience, whether in an individual or a church.

5:4.  “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”

There is no question that the teaching He had just given from the ship was the Gospel, but here He turns to speak to Simon who, it seems, had already been led to the Lord by his brother Andrew, see Jn 1:40-42.  The Lord will be no man’s Debtor.  Simon, having made his ship available to the Lord, was to have his reward.  Nothing done for Him will go unrewarded, even to a cup of cold water given another believer for His sake, Mt 10:42.

The launching out into the deep speaks symbolically of still further separation, not only from false profession, but from the things of the world in general.  The man who would be blessed must occupy a similar position spiritually.

The great draught of fishes represents men won to Christ through the Gospel, and points possibly to the multitudinous conversions which followed the preaching of the Gospel immediately after the day of Pentecost.  In the present context, however, it may speak rather of the reward of obedient service, reminding us that obedience is the proper expression of love for Christ; and relative to the recompense of that obedience, it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

5:5.  “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”

That fruitless night’s fishing apart from the Lord’s direction, points to the character of much of the “fishing” done today.  There is much human activity connected with the gospel, but it is a busyness lacking the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Organizations and committees have usurped His prerogative, with the result that His power is absent, hence the fruitlessness of the “fishing.”  There are many professions, but few genuine converts as evidenced by transformed lives.

The fruitless night’s fishing may have been recorded to encourage those who may have had the same experience spiritually, i.e., little or nothing to show for much effort in the Gospel, for in the present context it seems that the great draught of fishes represents, not as usually, converts, but rather, the reward of the believer’s sowing.  God holds us responsible for the sowing, not for the results.  The fact that the great draught of fishes here seems primarily to represent reward, doesn’t, however, exclude the fact that it may be also a figure of the multitudes who will trust the Savior during this present Church age.

5:6.  “And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.”

Since this phenomenal catch was made, not at night (the usual time for fishing), but apparently in the morning, the picture may be of what will be revealed “in the morning,” i.e., when we are home in heaven.  We will see then, not the small result of our personal “fishing,” but the “great multitude” gathered in as a result of the “fishing” done world-wide during the “night” of Christ’s absence, i.e., the whole Church age.

5:7.  “And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.  And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.”

The other ship which had lain idle on the beach appears to represent the Jewish testimony which has “lain idle on the beach” as it were, during the two thousand years of the Church age.”  When the Church’s “fishing” is finished, as it will be at the Rapture, Israel’s will begin again, and both “ships” will be filled.

5:8.  “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus” knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

The miracle impressed Peter with the fact that he stood in the presence of God, and it brought an awareness that He Who knew where the fish were in the lake, knew also all that was in Peter.  The realization impressed him with his own unworthiness, his cry “Depart from me,” expressing not his wish to have the Lord depart from him, but his confession that in himself he was unfit for that Holy Presence.  It would be well if we had the same awareness of personal unworthiness, for it would banish all pride, and create awareness of the extent of our indebtedness to the love that led the Lord out to Calvary to die for our sins, so that we might be clothed in His perfect righteousness, and thus fitted for His presence eternally.

Significantly, Peter became the Apostle to the Jews, as Paul was to the Gentiles.  His falling at Jesus’ knees therefore, may point, not only to the penitent attitude of the remnant that will be saved in the Tribulation, but also to the attitude that becomes all of us, as it is written, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do,” 17:10. .

5:9.  “For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:”

Their astonishment may well be a foreshadowing of the astonishment with which we will greet the coming revelation of the great multitude of the redeemed, a great multitude which no man could number.  The impossibility of numbering the vast multitude that will ultimately stand in heaven, is the perfect antidote for the discouragement that may beset us in these closing days of the age as we see, not the bulk of the harvest, but as it were, the gleanings - the one here, and another there, responding to the Gospel.

5:10.  “And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

James is another form of Jacob, and means he will take by the heel: supplanter; John means Jehovah is gracious giver; and Zebedee means endowed of Jehovah.  Taking by the heel speaks of supremacy; and the meanings of John and Zebedee combine to emphasize the truth that it is God Who enables His servants; while their being partners with Simon, meaning hearkening, and speaking of obedience, adds the further truth that he who would enjoy the privilege of serving must be obedient.

Connected with the assurance to Simon that he was henceforth to be a fisher of men, may be the reminder that all who are willing to display the obedience implied in the meaning of his name, can enjoy the same high privilege of leading others to the Savior.

5:11. “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”

Literal fishing was thereafter followed by spiritual, and it is instructive to note that in preparation for that fishing “they forsook all, and followed him.”  He who would be successful in that spiritual “fishing” must likewise forsake the things of this world, and must likewise follow Christ, that is, obey Him.  This doesn’t necessarily require us to give up our jobs (only a few are called to do so), but it does mean that the things of God must have first place in our lives.

5:12.  “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

Leprosy is the outstanding symbol of sin, and it is to be remembered that in connection with the cleansing of the leper mentioned in Le 13:13, the Divine command was that the man who was completely covered was to be pronounced clean, whereas the man who was only partially leprous was to be declared unclean.  The spiritual lesson being taught in this is that only he who is willing to confess that he has no righteousness whatsoever, will be saved.  He who believes that he has some righteousness, will not.  This man was “full of leprosy.”  He portrays the man willing to confess himself a sinner without one shred of righteousness, and as we might expect, the Lord healed him.  His faith is declared in his expressed conviction that the Lord could heal him if only He would.

5:13.  “And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean.  And immediately the leprosy departed from him.”

The Lord’s compassion is demonstrated in that touch.  No one else would have touched a leper.  Evangelism divorced from compassion for sinners is evangelism in name only, and is a mere religious exercise of little value.

5:14.  “And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (the people).”

I cannot understand why the Lord should have forbidden the man to tell how and by whom he had been cured, unless it was His knowledge that the telling of it as recorded in Mk 1:45 would bring such crowds as would make it impossible for Him to appear openly in the city.  It is also difficult to understand how the man could have avoided telling how he had been healed, since the change would be dramatically apparent to all who knew him, and a practical lesson to be learned from the remarkable change is that  since his healing is a typological portrait of conversion, it would be well if others saw in us such changed lives as would not even require the verbal confession of conversion.

5:15.  “But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.”

There was no limit to Christ’s healing power.  As many as came were healed.  It is the same with sin.  Christ’s death is adequate to atone for all men’s sins, but only those who come to Him in faith will be cleansed.

5:16.  “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

Effective prayer requires separation from the world.  The spiritual realm into which conversion introduces the believer, is to the worldling a wilderness, but it is in that very place that faith thrives, for it is there that God nourishes spiritual life with manna, and water from the smitten rock, the former being a type of the written Word in its ability to nurture the new life; the latter, to cleanse and refresh the believer.  It is instructive to note that redeemed Israel was brought into the wilderness, as were Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and others who performed great exploits for God.  It is only as we see the world as a spiritual wilderness that we can enjoy communion with God, and prosper spiritually.

If the Lord needed to pray, how much more do we!  And a practical lesson to be learnt from His going into the wilderness to pray, is that effective prayer requires a place of quietness away from everything that would distract.

5:17.  “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

In spite of the power, relatively few were healed, and so has it always been.  There are few converts amongst the world’s religious leaders, for mere religion is the implacable foe of faith, and of God’s redeemed people.

5:18.  “And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.”

The paralytic is a type of every sinner.  As he was without power, so are they.  But others cared enough to bring him to the Savior.  Do we care enough about others even to bring them to a meeting where they can hear the Gospel?  Those who brought the palsied man took trouble.  What trouble do we take to lead others to Christ?  Do we even pray for unsaved family, friends, neighbors, and others?  A searching question we all ought to ask ourselves is, What do I do persona­lly to lead others to the Lord Jesus Christ?  Did I, for example, even give a tract to someone today?

5:19.  “And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the house top, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.”

No obstacle was too great.  They would permit nothing to hinder their bringing the man to the Lord Jesus Christ.  How different with many of us!  Our lack of concern, and equal lack of faith, magnify mere molehills into mountains, so that we credit the enemy with a power he doesn’t possess, as did the faithless spies sent to reconnoiter Canaan in Nu 13, where they said, “We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” verse 33.  They left God out of the picture, and so all too often do we.

5:20.  “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”

We tend to be occupied with the physical rather than the spiritual, but the spiritual must come first.  What profit would there have been for the man had the Lord merely healed his body!  Yet that is what constit­ut­es a very large part of the ministry of the professing church today.  She caters to the physical, and almost totally disregards men’s spiritual needs.

The faith of the man’s friends tends sometimes to overshadow his own, but it is to be remembered that his faith was as great as theirs.

5:21.  “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

Religion was then, and still is the great foe of faith.  These religious leaders failed to see that One who had such power to heal as was demonstrated by the Lord Jesus Christ, was God manifest in flesh.  But blind leaders of the blind that they were, they failed to see this truth, and by their worldly reasoning made the Lord a blasphemer, the very charge on which they ultimately had Him crucified.  As James has written concerning the world’s wisdom, “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (Jas 3:15).

5:22.  “But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?”

Wise in their own religious conceit, they failed to understood that He Who stood in their midst was He Who discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.

5:23.  “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?”

Clearly it was easier to say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” for there would be no way of knowing whether they had been forgiven.  To say, “Rise up and walk,” was more difficult, for it could be seen immediately whether the man had been healed.

For them the one was as impossible as the other, but for Him the one was as easy as the other, and yet there was a difference.  By His inherent power as God, He could say, Rise up and walk, but it was only in anticipation of His own atoning death on the cross that He could say, Thy sins are forgiven thee.  Apart from that sin-atoning death, even He could not remit sin.

The stubborn unbelief of the Jewish leaders was demonstrated in that even when confronted with the Lord’s power to heal the man physically, they refused to believe that He had the power also to forgive sin, even though the physical miracle was proof of His power to work also the one that was spiritual.

5:24.  “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he saith unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”

In this miracle which they could see, they should have seen the proof of what the Lord claimed to have done, but which they couldn’t see: He had remitted the man’s sins.  His doing what they had believed to be impossible, ought to have convinced them that He was the Son of God, but the blind unbelief of the self-hardened heart will accept no evidence: it will not believe, as the Lord Himself declared, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (16:31).  Israel’s refusal to believe in the Lord’s resurrection, confirms His words.

We should note, incidentally, that it is here on earth that the Lord has power to forgive sin.  Once the sinner has left earth all hope of forgiveness is gone for ever.

5:25.  “And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.”

In his carrying that upon which he had formerly been carried, we may see an oblique declaration of a truth relative to conversion.  In our unsaved state all of us were carried along by the dictates of the old nature.  1 Cor 12:2 declares that we were carried into idolatry, and Eph 4:14 asserts that we were “carried about with every wind of doctrine.”  As believers, we are delivered from that control.

His being told to return to his house (or family), reminds us that our testimony is also to be first to those of our own families.

5:26.  “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.”

The linking together of their glorifying God, and their being filled with fear (awe), reminds us that only those who stand in awe of God can glorify Him, for the sinner who isn’t led to fear God will not be saved, nor will the saint who doesn’t fear God obey Him, and it is by obedience that we glorify Him.

The things they had seen that day were strange indeed.  No one else had ever been able to forgive sins or enable a paralytic to walk.

5:27.  “And after these things he went forth,  and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.”

The publicans were tax-collectors, rich by dishonesty, and hated by their fellow Jews, both for being the agents of the Romans, and also for their dishonest practices relative to tax collection.

Levi means joined, and reminds us that in obeying Christ’s call and joining himself to Christ, this man was severing his ties with Rome, and in forsaking his occupation, was making himself poor in the things of this world, but rich in those of the world to come - a foolish choice in man’s eyes, but a wise one in God’s.  Each believer is called upon to make the same choice.  He is a wise man who emulates Levi.  This former publican, incidentally, is Matthew, the author of the first Gospel.  What change conversion had wrought in his life.

5:28.  “And he left all, rose up, and followed him.”

His obedience was immediate, as was that of Abraham and other great men of faith.  Since blessing attends obedience, it is folly to be tardy in yielding that obedience.  Each moment of delay deprives us of blessing.

Nor was his disassociation from former things partial: he left all.  God deals in absolutes, and expects us to do so too.  All must be yielded to His control, for anything less than total obedience is nothing less than disobedience.

Its being said that he “rose up,” speaks of activity, reminding us that obedience is no mere passive thing.  It calls for the exercise of all our faculties.  True Christianity doesn’t consist of mere passive refraining from evil: there must be also the active doing of good.

It is to be noted that the Lord’s call of Levi, while an act of His own sovereignty, left with Levi the free will choice of whether he would obey.  So is it with God’s call of sinners in the Gospel.  God will not compel the obedience of either saint or sinner.  To have any value obedience must be voluntary.

5:29.  “And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.”

The Lord was the guest of honor at that feast, indicating that from henceforth He was to be Lord of Levi’s life.

Its being in his own house, and his having obviously invited many of his former associates, declares the truth that this new convert was anxious that they too should be introduced to this Jesus whom he, Levi, had made Lord of his life.  It reminds us too, that testimony is to begin at home.  This is always the Biblical pattern, e.g., the Gospel was first preached in Jerusalem, then in Samaria, and then throughout the rest of the world.  It was the same with the former demoniac of Gadara: his testimony was to begin at home, see Lk 8:39, and from there it went to the whole city, and then to Decapolis, the ten city region, see Mk 5:20.

5:30.  “But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?”

Mere religion is always the bitter antagonist of faith.  The history of the Church is the chronicle of the bloody persecution she has suffered either directly at the hand of the great apostate travesty posing as the true church, or incited by that same godless foe.

5:31.  “And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.”

Occupation with their religion had blinded the Jewish leaders to their own spiritual need, and so, unaware that they were sick, they saw no need of a physician.  So is it with all who are trusting in religion to take them to heaven.

5:32.  “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The truly righteous, having repented already, had no further need to repent; and the self-righteous, in their blindness saw no need of repentance, leaving then, those willing to confess themselves sinners, as the only ones to whom He could minister.  He who will not admit that he is a sinner, cannot be saved.

5:33.  “And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?”

The NT counterpart of OT fasting is the renunciation of fleshly lust, and abandonment of the pursuit of worldly pleasure, but as the OT literal sacrifices have been superseded by the better sacrifice of Christ, so has literal fasting been replaced by the better reality it represented.  Fasting is not for the Church age.  Types and shadows have all been and done away with in Christ.

5:34.  “And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?”

5:35.  “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”

Until the Lord’s death all believers were saved according to OT order, i.e., their faith anticip­ated His atoning death, but it wasn’t until Pentecost that believers were indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  And following the death of Stephen, and the conversion of Gentiles, another change occurred: while the Jewish converts continued to worship according to the Levitic­al ritual in addition to keeping the two Christian ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the Gentile converts were not required to observe the Levitical ritual, see Ac 15:1-31; 21:20-26.  Until the conversion of Cornelius nearly eight years after Pentecost, there is no record of any Gentile conversions, so that for those years the Jewish ritual (including fasting) was followed, the Lord’s disciples being temporarily exempt because He was still present with them as the heavenly Bridegroom.  Following His death they too would fast, but only until AD 70, when the Jewish order of worship ceased, the destruction of the Temple making such worship impossible.

It is to be noted that that dual order was established because the kingdom was still being offered to Israel, and in the Millennium the worship of Jew and Gentile alike will again be according to the Levitical order.  The separate order which God ordained for the Gentile believers was because He foreknew that Israel’s unbelief would result in the postponement of the kingdom offer; and following the end of Jewish autonomy in AD 70 the Jewish order for believing Jews was set aside, and the Gentile order of worship became the norm for the whole Church.

The Lord’s referring to Himself as a Bridegroom may be meant to remind us that He foreknew His rejection by Israel, as He foreknew also that He would be the Bridegroom of the Christian Church.  Since His presence is synonymous with joy, fasting, which is the sign of sorrow and mourning, would therefore be totally inappropriate in His presence.

The fasting which would follow His return to heaven was for Jewish converts only, and only until AD 70.  It was never imposed on Gentile believers, for as noted already, the symbols of the OT age have given place to better spiritual realities.  Occupation with their Lord’s business during His absence, would preclude His servants’ being occupied with the pleasures of a doomed world needing to be warned of coming judgment.

5:36.  “And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.”

Clearly, the Lord is here speaking of the new dispensation of grace that would replace the old one of law, and emphasizing that as new cloth isn’t used to patch an old garment, neither was the new age of grace a thing to be superimposed on the old garment of the law.  The old was to be done away with completely.  They were totally incompatible.  There was no similarity between them, and the inferiority of the system of law is declared in its being likened to the old garment.

5:37.  “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.”

5:38.  “But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.”

Wine is the Biblical symbol of joy, and this second parable sets forth the joyous nature of the age of grace in contrast with the cold joyless formality of law.  The joy of grace can’t be bottled up within the framework of law, for law, as the yardstick which measures the requirements of God’s holiness, can never do anything except confront man with his shortcoming, leaving him always with consciousness of guilt.  Grace is very different.  It brings the believer the assurance, peace, and joy of sin forgiven, of all debt paid, the glad assurance that, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” Ro 8:1.  As is written again, “... the law entered that the offense might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” Ro 5:20.

The reference to the fact that the new wine would burst the old wineskins, reminds us also that grace overflows the boundaries of Judaism to embrace also the Gentiles.  (“Bottles” here refers to wine-skins).

5:39.  “No man also having drunk old wine straight­way desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”

This sets forth another aspect of grace.  It would be rejected by those who believe that man must have some part in procuring his own salvation, failing to realize that this is an impossibility, and that eternal life becomes the possession only of the man willing to receive it as God’s gift.  The preference for the “old wine” of law-keeping is widespread.  Only the few are willing to receive eternal life in the only way God makes it available: as His priceless gift, apart from works.

[Luke 6]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough