Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
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,Hearing the Word
There was a period in our Saviour's Galilean ministry when He was the object of popular interest and enthusiasm. It cannot be said that He enjoyed popularity, for He was persecuted by popularity. This eagerness of the people to hear Christ, the Great Teacher, is full of instruction, and both of encouragement and caution to all in every age who preach and who hear the Word of Grace.
I. Motives which Induced Men to Hear the Word of God:—
1. Some desired to hear Christ from mixed and even unworthy motives; some came from curiosity, impelled by the desire of knowing something new; some came for bread, or for healing, or for some other form of temporal aid; some came to cavil, to catch Him in His words, to betray Him.
2. Some came to hear Christ because their hearts felt the charm of His words and the Divine power of His message. Men were captivated, not only by the simplicity of His language, the beauty of His illustrations, the human sympathy of His discourse, but also by the appeal He made to their better judgment, to their purest feelings, to their inmost conscience. Still does the Divine Word prove its power by drawing the hearts of men unto itself.
II. The Right Method of Hearing the Word of God.—To hear it profitably men must listen to it:—
1. With reverence, as to a word higher than that of man.
2. With attention, as to what is of vital interest and concern.
3. With candour, as prepared to weigh all that is said, although it may be opposed to their prejudices.
4. With prayer, that the spirit may accompany the message to the heart.
5. With frequency, as remembering that not one lesson, not many lessons, can exhaust the riches of heavenly truth.
III. The Purpose for which the Word of God should be Heard:—
1. To appropriate it in faith. It is well to inquire and well to consider and deliberate; but all this is means to an end, and that end is a conviction of either the truth or falsehood, the importance or the worthlessness of what is heard. They truly hear who truly believe.
2. To obey it with cheerfulness and diligence. The Word is not merely speculative, it is practical and authoritative; it comes as an imperative to our spiritual nature: 'Blessed are they who hear the Word of God, and do it!'
References.—V. 1.—W. P. Balfern, Glimpses of Jesus, p. 48. V. 1-11.—G. H. Morrison, Scottish Review, vol. i. p. 34. G. Davidson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p. 344. Expositor (7th Series), vol. x. p. 40; (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 409. V. 2-11.—Ibid. (4th Series), vol. vi. p. 18. V. 3.—W. H. Evans, Sermons for the Church's Year, p. 172.
The Two Miraculous Draughts of Fishes
You know that Christ was twice pleased to work a miracle in this matter. He twice came to His Apostles when they had been toiling for many hours, and had taken nothing, and gave them by a miracle abundance of fish. Once was before His Resurrection, once after it.
The first miracle was a type of the calling of men into Christ's Church, as it is now, here on earth; the second miracle was a type of their being called into that same church as it will be hereafter in heaven.
I. In our Lord's first miracle there were two ships. This sets forth to us that when His Apostles began to preach there were two Churches, the Church of the Jews and the Church of the Gentiles. He came to make both one. But in His second miracle there was only one ship, because hereafter in heaven there will be only one Church, one family, one fold with one Shepherd.
II. In our Lord's first miracle the fish were gathered in from both sides of the ship, the left as well as the right. For bad men as well as good men are brought into His Church on earth. But it will not be so hereafter. The Church in heaven will be altogether holy. This is represented to us in the second miracle, by our Lord's commanding the Apostles to cast the net on the right side of the ship only. The right side is a type of the good, and it is the good only that will be gathered into heaven.
III. In the first miracle, the net break. It could not keep all it caught. And so it is with the Church on earth. But in the other miracle the net did not break. For none of those that are counted worthy to enter heaven will ever fall away again. They being once safe, will be safe to all eternity. Nothing can take them away from God. That net will never break at all.
IV. In the first miracle we know not how many fishes were taken. This teaches us that on earth the number of the true servants of God will never be known. But in the second miracle the number is told us. And so the number of those that are redeemed will be known in heaven. All that we see there will be written in the Book of Life. Every one will be known; every one will be counted. 'I heard the number of them,' St. John says in the Book of Revelation.
V. In the first miracle nothing is told us as to the sort of fishes; some might be bad and some good; in the second they were all good, 'Full of great fishes,' says St. John.
VI. In the first miracle the ships began to sink. But in the other miracle the ship did not begin to sink. The Church, as it will be in heaven, can neither be in trouble nor in danger any more.
—J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College Chapel, vol. 2. p. 51.
References.—V. 4.—J. Wright, The Guarded Gate, p. 79. J. C. M. Bellew, Five Occasional Sermons, p. 1. A. H. Walker, Preacher's Magazine, vol. iv. p. 80. E. G. Jones, Sermons by Welshmen, p. 201. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii. p. 56. Basil Wilberforce, Sanctification by the Truth, p. 74. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No. 443. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p. 102.
Faith Triumphant in Failure
A beautiful gospel: a glorious message, surely, for those of us who are sometimes attacked with despondency.
I. The Wreckage of Human Life.—More than half the wreckage of human life which we see scattered about the beach of mortal existence is due to a very great extent to want of success after labour faithfully undertaken and toiled at with energy. Failure in our work is responsible for almost all the suicides we hear and read of today, and by suicide I do not mean the taking of our own life, but the robbing ourselves of our own character which God has given us with which to do something in this world. If you come to think of it, success and failure are two words which find a very permanent place in the vocabulary of human experience. We are told by some people that one man is born to succeed and another is born to fail. To maintain such a statement as that is not only to be un-Christian, but to be absolutely ungodly. The issue of your efforts, if you will only take the trouble to see, is always finally due to yourself.
II. Want of Enterprise.—If the issue is failure, more often than not the reason lies in our own want of enterprise. 'Launch out into the deep,' said our Lord to His disciples, who had toiled all the night and caught nothing. Look at this twentieth-century Christendom, what it ought to be and what it is. We have been toiling in the shallows; we must launch out into the deep of human nature and let down our nets for a draught.
III. Faith Triumphant in Failure.—The motto of the Church and of its individual members must ever be—faith triumphant in failure. Where faith is absolute, failure is absolutely impossible. What we want is a faith grown stronger through the errors and failures and follies of the past.
IV. The Moral Teaching of the Parable.—If we are Christ's, all our sins when repented of make us holier, because the very best experience is that most dearly bought By the grace of repentance we can make even wrong help on the side of right and righteousness. By confession of our sins to Almighty God we can transform error into wisdom. We are not alone: our Master, Jesus the Son of God, is with us in the boat; therefore, we can afford to be enterprising and launch out into the deep. Aye, the strength of our Churchmanship lies not in the power of our resolutions or in our determination to achieve spiritual success, but in the word He spoke: 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,' and 'Without Me ye can do nothing'.
Reference.—V. 4-9.—C. Perren, Outline Sermons, p. 239.
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes
I purpose to treat this incident of the miraculous draught of fishes in a more or less parabolic way. We shall be standing by the Sea of Galilee, but we shall be thinking and speaking of the sea of life. We shall be watching a few fishermen coming ashore, first with empty boats at dawn of day, and then with boats laden almost beyond the point of safety with a great catch of fish; but behind the picture I want us to find some of the inner meaning of success and failure upon wider and more perplexing waters.
I. 'We have toiled all night, and have taken nothing.' That was not the first vain night by a good many that they had spent on the Sea of Galilee. Mind you, these men were no novices. They knew their business. They had known the Galilean Sea from their boyhood—all its moods and tempers, its dangers and its possibilities. The story of their bread-winning life had been told upon its waters. They were experts, and their boat was empty. They had worked hard and worked wisely, and the sea had beaten them. In spite of the instincts and love of a lifetime on its waters, it can send a man ashore with an empty boat.
And on the greater sea where you and I do our work the same story is ever being told. It is a difficult story to understand. It is beyond us all. The failure of the foolish, the incompetent and the lazy is a foregone conclusion. But how often do we see the wise, strong, earnest, capable souls coming from their toils with nothing to show!
II. Success and failure are deep and inward things. No surface judgment ever truly appraises them. The world reads failure in an empty boat. God reads failure in an empty heart. 'We have toiled all night, and have taken nothing'. Well, what of that? That is no tragedy if you can say, 'We have toiled all night, and have lost nothing'. This is where you begin to see right into the heart of the worker's failure—not the thing he did not win, but the thing he did lose.
Hopelessness, indifference, weak despondency, foolish desperation, cynical unbelief, these are the things that go to make real failure. It is not our ignorance and clumsiness that baffle the Almighty—it is our despair.
III. 'We have toiled all night' The night was the right time for fishing. If they had had no success then, what chance was there in the glare of the sun? Oh how we are snared in the traditions of our toil! How we are limited by the little that we have had time to justify! How conventional and unenterprising are these hearts of ours in the wide world of the spirit! Fancy putting to sea in the middle of the morning! Everything was against it, except the word of the Master; but Simon came to know ere his lifework was done that that is the most tremendous and significant exception in all the world.
IV. Again, these men succeeded where they had failed. The old sphere of their labours was the sphere of their reward. We all need to know that the one vital necessity of our lives is to be sought, not in the setting, but in the spirit of them. Any boat will do if Christ bids you launch it. Any hour is a harvest hour if Christ bids you let down the net.
V. The men who succeeded were the men who had failed. Failure is not a standing disability in the service of the kingdom. In the world it is sometimes a final disqualification, an unpardonable sin. The world says to the failures, 'Stand aside and let some one else try. You have had your chance. Now make room for a better man.' He is always a better man, this man who has not tried. The world is quite agreeable that the boat should be launched again, but it stipulates for a different crew. And some are too ready to accept the stipulation and drop out. I wonder how many ministers last year received at least one note from a steward, a leader, a Guild secretary, containing the phrase, 'Let some one else try'. Note the way of Jesus. 'Launch out,' you men who but lately came ashore with empty nets.
—P. C. Ainsworth, The Pilgrim Church, p. 62.
Simple obedience to the word of God is sublime. By the word of God was set in force the whole creation. At God's word Peter is to fish. Fishing is a very ordinary occupation for those who live by the seashore, but if a man fishes according to God's word, he puts himself into accord with the universe, and will catch a multitude.
I. As the father expects the child to listen and be obedient to his word, so are we God's children if our life is lived in obedience to the will of God. Before all of us there is the great sea of life, and we are all fishers in it. It is not a matter of success or failure, but the question is: Am I living my life according to the word of God?
The fishers on the lake were disappointed men. They had fished the whole night and the catch was nothing. Anybody who tries to do good in this world will, sooner or later, lie under the sense of being complete failures. Sometimes it has seemed like night with hardly a gleam of light when everything has been against us. 'Master, master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing, nevertheless, at Thy word.' If you know you are doing God's will, you look not to the catch, but you look to catch His eye.
II. The Disciples were tired out, when the Lord said to them, 'Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught,' and if the thought comes to you, Why should not I have rest at last? remember their reply, 'Nevertheless, at Thy word, again I will let down the net'.
III. The Word of God to the Disciples seemed a little unreasonable. If they did not catch the fish by night, it is not likely they would catch them by day. Let your life be obedient to His word, and if His word seems to you to be unreasonable, who are you to stand up before the Eternal Wisdom of God? Yes, fish by day, if He tells you to.
IV. Another point is, 'I will lay down the net at Thy word'. If our Lord has spoken to you, you do it. God has created all of us lor a purpose, and He will reveal that purpose to us in our life. If He says, 'Go out into the deep,' no more hugging the shores of conventionalities. Go out and be the Christian whatever it costs you, and the Nevertheless becomes always the more.
—A. H. Stanton.
References.—V. 5.—R. W. Hiley, A Year's Sermons, vol.. ii. p. 17. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii. No. 1654, and vol. xlviii. No. 2810. C. S. Robinson, Simon Peter, p. 149. V. 7.—Archbishop Magee, The Gospel and the Age, p. 181.
The Mirror and the Vision
The presence of Jesus in the world brings all men to their proper measurements. In other words, He is the mirror in which men see themselves as they really are. Peter had such a vision of him elf in the face of Jesus Christ, and as he beheld his real self in the depths of that pure and perfect mirror, he was constrained to cry: 'Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord'. Here, then, we have got three things that command attention. There is (1) the Mirror; (2) the Vision; (3) Christ's interpretation of the Vision.
I. The Mirror.—Jesus Christ is God's thought of a man expressed in a human life. It is true that He was the revelation of God's character, the manifestation of the Divine will, the focussed splendour of God's nature, the Word made flesh, the Son of God: but He is also the revelation of God's idea of humanity, and what man is to be when God's perfect work with Him is done. In the vision of what we ought to be, and what God intends to make us, we see how blighted and sin-ruined our nature is.
II. The Vision.—Peter saw himself as a sinful man. Most of us see sin most clearly in other people, and then our judgment of it is swift, and our condemnation of it stern. Or we cry out about sin and its enormity in the general, and fail to see it as it is, lodged and entertained in our individual hearts. And so Jesus, knowing man, warned against the folly and the hypocrisy of seeking to take the mote out of our brother's eye when there was a beam in our own eye. The awful fact of sin is written on us, and the first step toward deliverance and holiness is to see the vision of Peter.
III. The Interpretation.—There is Christ's interpretation of the vision and the cry. How does Jesus look upon this cry of Peter, 'Depart from me?' He hears in it the confession of Peter's unworthiness: but He also sees in his humility and helplessness a desire for goodness, and understands that this 'Depart from me' is at bottom the first step of the ladder of holy aspiration. Confession is the way to holiness, humility is the beginning of virtue, our sense of utter helplessness is our greatest recommendation to the Saviour.
—D. L. Ritchie, Peace the Umpire, and other Sermons, p. 91.
References.—V. 8.—J. Martineau, Endeavours after the Christian Life, p. 70. Bishop Gore, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p. 222. Bishop Westcott, Village Sermons, p. 111. J. Mowat, Preacher's Magazine, vol. x. p. 37. Expositor (4th Series), vol. x. p. 133; (5th Series), vol. x. p. 334. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p. 110. V. 9. —Expositor (7th Series), vol. x. p. 479. V. 10.—E. W. Attwood, Sermons for Clergy and Laity, p. 236. C. S. Robinson, Simon Peter, p. 173. V. 12.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. vi. p. 443. V. 12, 13.—H. M. Butler, Harrow School Sermons (2nd Series), p. 252.
Prayer and Its Response
To see the power and the beauty of these words we must pause and consider the surroundings in which our Lord found Himself when He performed this miracle. For this brief story is a perfect illustration of what the Gospels set themselves to achieve. The writers of the Gospels never thought of a complete and ordered account of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here in this story, for instance, is the cure of a leper. The time and the date are not given. It somehow seems to read like we might begin an ordinary story—it happened one day. For St. Matthew says that He came down from the mountain, that is after He had given the Sermon on the Mount. St. Luke says, 'it came to pass in a certain city,' St. Mark says, 'there came a leper'. No time or place is mentioned, and there has been great controversy as to whereabouts in the Gospels this story of the healing of the leper should come. How different it is when we come to the heart of the story! You will find that all the Gospels tell us in the same words. The same thing happened. They tell us what the leper did and what he said, and what Jesus Christ did and said. They give the same essential details; so beautiful was the picture that they could not forget it. Now look at the kernel of this story which the Gospels have recalled. What are the particular lessons?
I. The Man.—In the time of our Lord leprosy was one of the most baneful scourges which swept across the Holy Land. It is when we remember these things that we see the graciousness of Jesus Christ. He stretched out His hand and actually touched the man—the hideous, repulsive, clammy creature—actually touched him.
II. His Prayer.—And the second lesson is perhaps harder for us to see, but none the less it is beautiful. We see in this prayer and miracle how Jesus Christ restrains Himself and obeys a certain law in the work of healing. This law necessitates that before a man can be healed he must repent of his sins and ask to be healed on his own initiative. And the more we consider this, the more pathetic does the life of our Lord on this earth become to us. He had to pass numerous men as they sat by the wayside stricken or injured and helpless, for they never besought His aid or lifted up the cry for help. He saw many lepers who looked on Him not heeding Who He was, and who would not lift up their voices to ask Him for a boon. He had to see these heartbreaking sights and watch the despair of the sufferers, but still He might not speak. Why did they not understand? Why did they not cry out when just a message of love and trust would have brought Him to their side? But sodden and desperate they plodded along their dreary road: they made no sign, and He could do nothing for them. That was the law of His mission. There must be in the suppliant and in the recipient a certain moral temperament, a certain spiritual outlook, a personal desire to love that will go out from the soul towards the person of Him Who would draw it unto Himself. There must be this faith in the soul before any virtue from Jesus Christ can go forth.
III. The Response.—When this is there, then instantly and inevitably His life passes into theirs. They will be invaded by His strength, permeated by His vitality, quickened by His power; only they must fulfil the condition, they must make it evident by some appeal, or He is powerless.
References.—V. 16.—C. J. Vaughan, The Prayers of Jesus Christ, p. 3. James Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (9th Series), p. 128. V. 16-26.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii. No. 981. V. 17.—Ibid. Sermons, vol. xii. No. 720; vol. xxxiii. No. 1991. Expositor (4th Series), vol. viii. p. 226. V. 17-26.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p. 120. V. 18-20.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. lii. No. 3016. V. 19.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p. 218. V. 20.—H. M. Butler, Harrow School Sermons (2nd Series), p. 252. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xli. No. 2417. V. 21.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p. 285; (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 472. V. 25-27.—Ibid. (6th Series), vol. viii. p. 38. V. 26.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2614. V. 27.—W. B. Selbie, The Servant of God, p. 281. V. 27, 28.—C. Ensor Walters, The Deserted Christ, p. 89.
Why Ought I to Be a Christian?
That was Christ's call to Matthew; it is Christ's call to us. Why should we obey it? Why—to put the question in concrete form—ought I to be a Christian?
I. I begin with this: Goodness is the greatest thing in the world, and to seek after goodness is our first duty in life. Here is the truth I want to emphasise: there are many things that are desirable: there is one thing that is necessary. There is the greatness of wisdom, the greatness of political influence, the greatness of material power; but high above all other forms of greatness is the greatness of goodness. Ordinarily we do not question this. But there is today under certain circumstances a real temptation to do so. 'Never let us allow ourselves,' said Dean Church once, 'never let us allow ourselves the thought, which I fear comes into men's minds, that being clever and having knowledge makes up for not caring to be good.' To speak in detail of this goodness after which man ought to seek would cany me too far afield. Let me notice two points only. In the first place, the good we need is not simply power to perform one or two good deeds, but—to put it in a word—character. And secondly, it is our duty to seek after the highest goodness that is revealed to us.
II. The highest form of goodness of which the world knows is incarnate for us in Jesus Christ.
III. Goodness the greatest thing in the world—man's first duty to seek after goodness, the highest goodness revealed to him—that highest goodness incarnate for us in Jesus Christ; what then? I ought to follow Christ, I ought to be a Christian.
I am a follower of Christ today, not only, not chiefly because in His example is the loftiest standard of human duty, but because I have found that what Christ bids me be He helps me to be. Do you say, 'So will any great example help us'? yes, but not as Christ does. He makes His own strength mine. What other, however great and good, can do that for you? Two things only I ask—Do you want to do what is right? Do you want power to do it? Then obey Christ when He says, 'Follow Me'. If Christ is to be anything to you, He must come, not first as the Perfect Example to be imitated, but as the Great Deliverer who will strike off the chains and set the captive free.
—G. Jackson, First Things First, p. 49.
References.—V. 27.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 37. V. 27, 28.—W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. 1. p. 133. V. 27-29.—H. S. Holland, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p. 193. V. 27-32.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 322. V. 31.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlix. No. 2835. D. Fraser, Metaphors in the Gospels, p. 95.
'Seeing many of the rich at Clifton church,' wrote John Wesley, 'my heart was much pained for them, and I was earnestly desirous that some of them might enter into the kingdom of heaven. But full as I was, I knew not where to begin in warning them to flee from the wrath to come, till my Testament opened on these words: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners"; in applying which my soul was so enlarged that methought I could have cried out (in another sense than poor vain Archimedes), "Give me where to stand, and I will shake the earth".' Three years later Wesley has another notice of this text. 'We came to Newcastle about six; and after a short refreshment walked into the town. I was surprised; so much drunkenness, cursing, and swearing (even from the mouths of little children), do I never remember to have seen and heard before, in so small a compass of time. Surely this place is ripe for Him who "came not to call the righteous, but sinners".'
References.—V. 33.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. i p. 348; vol. x. p. 29; (5th Series), vol. i. p. 15; (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 73. V. 33-35.—Ibid. vol. i. p. 347; V. 35.—J. Keble, Sermons for Lent to Passion-tide, p. 410. V. 36.—T. Sadler, Sermons for Children, p. 38.
Heine quotes this passage in his rather jaundiced and superficial sketch of English society, as the text for the following reflections: 'The concessions which have there been made to liberal ideas have been with difficulty wrested from mediaeval rigidity, and all modern improvements proceed there, not from principle but from sheer necessity; they bear the curse of that system of half-measures.... The religious reformation in England is but half complete, and one finds oneself much worse off between the four bare prison walls of the Episcopal Anglican church than in the large, beautifully-painted, and softly-cushioned spiritual dungeon of Catholicism. Nor has the political reformation succeeded much better.... Although many improvements have recently been made in this melancholy state of affairs in England; although limits have been placed to temporal and clerical avarice, and though the great falsehood of popular representation is, to a certain degree, occasionally modified by transferring the perverted electoral voice of a rotten borough to a great manufacturing town; although the harshest intolerance is here and there softened by giving certain rights to other sects, still it is all a miserable patching up which cannot last long, and the stupidest tailor in England can foresee that, sooner or later, the old garment of state will be rent asunder into wretched rags.'
References.—V. 36-39.—D. Fraser, Metaphors in the Gospels, p. 106. Expositor (6th Series), vol. i. p. 319.
Progress Needs Preparation
Under this simple Parable the Saviour would teach us the far-reaching truth that progress needs preparation. If you want the new wine you must prepare new bottles.
This principle of the need of preparation before progress is far reaching, and applicable in many ways.
We all know that the ground must be prepared if it is to yield a full harvest; we know that animals must be trained if they are to be fit for the service of man; children need the discipline of school, and to practise obedience in their home life if they are to be ready for the station of life to which it may please God to call them; and education must not cease with childhood—the young man or young woman, if he or she is to make use of the education of childhood, must still continue to learn; continuation schools, evening classes, the opportunities of apprenticeship must all be attended to, if we would make the necessary preparation for our progress in life.
Thus the truth of the text is constantly before us, new wine must be but into new bottles.
As the text is true with regard to the ordinary conditions of this life, so is it true with reference to our highest interests in matters of religion.
I. The event which has made the greatest difference in the condition of the world and done most to advance the true progress and well-being of mankind is the Incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Even the most superficial observer can see that the foremost countries in the world, the countries which are most civilized, are those which bear the name of Christian; there may be (alas, we know there are) many imperfections, but nevertheless the nations which call themselves Christian are the foremost nations of the world.
This great event in the progress of the human race, the Incarnation of the Lord, was prepared for by a great preparation. It was, we are expressly told, in the fullness of time that the Saviour came. The language and philosophy of Greece, the worldwide system and government of the Roman Empire, the special revelation to the Jews as we have it in the Old Testament, all prepared the way for the coming of Christ. He was the True Vine from which the new wine was to be made, and the world was duly prepared to receive Him.
Immediately before the Saviour came, St. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way before Him, and when the Saviour commenced His ministry we read that He appointed other seventy also, and sent them out two and two before His face, into every city and place whither He Himself would come.
II. The love of God and the love of our neighbour are the vital powers which flow through the stem and the branches of the True Vine and give us the new wine.
The love of God will lead us to be constant in our devotion, by ourselves, with our families, in our attendance on the services of our Church, in frequent reception of the Holy Communion. The love of our neighbour will show itself in acts of kindness visiting and relieving the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, in being 'kind and tender-hearted one towards another, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us'.
—Bishop Edward King, The Love and Wisdom of God, p. 215.
References.—V. 39.—J. T. Bramston, Fratribus, p. 26. W. M. Sinclair, Difficulties of Our Day, p. 147. H. S. Holland, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. p. 17. VI. 3, 4.—Alfred Rowland, The Exchanged Crowns, p. 83. VI. 4.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. ix. p. 9; ibid. (5th Series), vol. x. p. 152.
And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
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.
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
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.
And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
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.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
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.
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
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.
And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
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.
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.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
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.
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.
And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?
Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
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.
And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
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.
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
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?
And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
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.
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.
But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.