After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.…
We have here —
I. A PICTURE OF HOPEFUL PROMISE IS THE MULTITUDE.
1. They were looking for the Messiah, and, if they did not exactly believe, they had a large idea that Christ was He. Their notions were more or less confused; some were influenced by gaping wonder, but all were enthusiastic to hear Christ, and disappointed His desire for rest.
2. Christ honoured this imperfect zeal. It was in some sort a seeking of the kingdom in preference to earthly comfort, and evinced a confidence in Christ that He never disappoints. And what He would not do for Himself, and what the devil could not extract from Him, is instantly commanded by human need.
3. The murder of John the Baptist had something to do with His retirement. When grace is mistreated it withdraws. What is driven away by the impiety of the great is called forth by the confidence of the poor.
4. The self-denial of the people was commendable. They had to make a long circuit and adventure into a desert region. The way to Christ is never smooth, but sincere devotion follows Christ in the face of all trials.
II. A PICTURE OF FAULTY FAITH IN THE DISCIPLES.
1. According to earthly reason, Philip and Andrew were right. In the common course of affairs the thing was impossible. But they should have known Christ better. Their faith was overborne by looking only at human helplessness instead of at Divine resources. Trust in God suffers from mammon on one side and poverty on the other. The rich disregard Providence because they have plenty; the others grumble at it and undertake to make a way of their own.
III. A PICTURE OF WONDERFUL GOODNESS IN CHRIST.
1. This has been likened to 2 Kings 4:42-44. But we see at once that the one was the work of the servant, the other that of the Master.
2. We observe the truly Messianic character of the miracle. The prerogative of God in the absoluteness of the Godhead is to create what is from what is net. But redemption is the taking of what is, and a developing of something additional. It is the making of a saint out of a sinner. Like the miracle, the redeeming process is —
(1) Inscrutable. The Incarnation, the operations of the Spirit, the conveyance of spiritual aliment through the means of grace, are beyond our comprehension.
(2) Gracious. Christ might have shown His almightiness in works of judgment. So now.
IV. THE MATERIALS OF HAPPY ENCOURAGEMENT AND PROMISE TO FAITH AND OBEDIENCE (Philippians 4:19; Psalm 37:3).
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.