Luke 5:4 Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught
Jeffrey R. Holland
"'Launch out into the deep,' he counseled this fisherman one morning in Galilee, 'and let down your nets for a draught.' After an unsuccessful night of effort, Peter's judgment told him a final effort was useless. But this was a man of genuinely childlike faith, and he lowered the net. The number of fish taken in that single attempt strained the strings until they began to break, and filled two boats until they began to sink. In that small ship Peter, stunned, kneeled at the feet of the Master. Jesus said lovingly, 'Henceforth thou shalt catch men.'
"Launch out into the deep! Peter could not have known the ever-widening circles that single command would make in the stream of his plain and simple life. He was launching out into the expanse of godliness, into the eternal possibilities of redeemed and celestial life. He would be learning the mysteries of the kingdom. He would be hearing unspeakable things. To launch out into that limitless sea of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Peter brought his craft to shore, turned his back on the most spectacular single catch ever taken from Galilee, 'forsook all, and followed him.' (Luke 5:1-11.)
"From that moment on, Jesus taught and trained Peter at every opportunity. He walked with him in the hills outside of Capernaum. He sat with him beside the sea they loved so much. He stayed in his home, ate at his table, gave blessings to his family and friends. Peter watched silently as the Son of God cast out devils, healed the sick, restored the blind. When Jesus sought some respite from the crowd, Peter appealed to him in their behalf. 'All men seek for thee' (Mark 1:37), he told the Master, and Jesus smiled a knowing smile. Peter did not know that very soon other men would seek Jesus-and not to receive a blessing at his hand. But Jesus knew, and he hastened the work." (However Long and Hard the Road [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 92.)
Luke 5:5 Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing
"Think of Peter who, with his friends, had spent the entire night fishing. Then Jesus told him to let down the net on the other side of the boat. Peter was a professional. He and his friends had grown up on the Sea of Galilee. He knew about currents, the feeding habits of fish, and the best times to catch fish. He also knew that the water on one side of the boat was a lot like the water on the other side of the boat. He explained to Jesus, respectfully but candidly, that they had been fishing all night without luck. Then he added, 'Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.' So he did, and he caught so many fish that the net broke (Luke 5:5-6).
"Now, it's interesting to me that Jesus didn't scold Peter for his lack of faith. He listened patiently to Peter's description of the facts. They were, after all, facts. But Peter did his part, too. When he was sure that Jesus, a carpenter, hadn't accidentally overlooked any of the facts important to a fisherman, he let down his net and gathered in his reward." (Sanctuary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 17.)
Luke 5:8 he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man
"Sometimes we assume that everyone else is doing better than we are. We think that other people are not sinners, that they keep all the commandments all of the time, and we loathe ourselves because we cannot do the same thing. As a result, many of us, often the best among us, despair at what we see as an unbridgeable gap between what God demands and what we do. Thus even the great fisherman, Peter the Rock, said when first confronted by the Master's power, 'Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' (Luke 5:8.)
"Once he saw the power of Jesus Christ and knew that He was genuinely sent from God, Peter could come to only one conclusion-'I'm not worthy. You shouldn't be here with me. If you knew how rotten I am, you'd realize it's hopeless. I'm not like you-I'm sinful. So don't waste your time here on me; go find someone righteous and religious, someone who can be saved. One as holy as you deserves a much better disciple than a poor wretch like me.' No one knew better than Peter the vast chasm between the demands of God and the ability of unaided humans to meet those demands. And before he learned the good news, even the great fisherman apparently could see no hope, no way out of the Great Dilemma." (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 3.)
Ronald E. Poelman
"Each one of us, at times, may feel like Peter, conscious of our failings and uncomfortable at the thought of approaching the Lord. Transgression causes us to feel estranged from our Father in heaven, and we feel unworthy of his love and fearful of his disapproval. Yet, having transgressed his laws or disobeyed his commandments, we need the strengthening influence of our Father to help us overcome our weakness, to help us repent and become reconciled with him. Unrepented sin tends to become habitual and is frequently accompanied by a deepening sense of guilt, which may make repentance increasingly difficult. This feeling of estrangement from the Lord becomes an impediment to repentance and reconciliation with him.
"Knowing we have offended our Father in heaven, we are afraid to ask his help, feeling that we don't deserve it. Paradoxically, when we are most in need of the Lord's influence, we deserve it least. Nevertheless, in such circumstances he says to us, as Jesus said to the trembling Peter, 'Fear not.' (Luke 5:10.) "(Love [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 89 - 90.)
Spencer J. Condie
"Despite all of the human frailties of the great Apostle Peter, it is well to remember the circumstances surrounding his calling to the holy apostleship...After catching a great multitude of fish, Peter, instead of boasting of his prowess as a fisherman, humbly acknowledged the Savior's power by falling to his knees and saying: 'Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' But the Savior looked beyond the current sins of this humble sinner, proclaiming: 'Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.' (Luke 5:1-10.) A calling in the kingdom is not necessarily so much a confirmation of our personal worthiness as it is an invitation to improve our lives.
"The Savior called men like Peter and Paul and Alma, not because of what they had done, but because of what they would be able to do with His help, and they remembered the source of their spiritual guidance. By contrast, King Saul had to be reminded by the prophet Samuel of the time 'when thou wast little in thine own sight' (1 Sam. 15:17), and King Solomon forgot the time he prayed: 'I am but a little child' (1 Kgs. 3:7). The challenge is to grow in confidence while still retaining humility, and increasing in boldness without losing meekness." (In Perfect Balance [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 190.)
Luke 5:10 he was astonished...at the draught of the fishes which they had taken
David O. McKay
"Jesus had manifested His power, and in so doing had taught Peter the lesson that he and all the world, sooner or later, must learn; viz., that obedience to Christ's words brings blessings, temporal as well as spiritual. As the realization of this truth was pouring balm on his awe-struck feelings, Jesus said unto him, 'Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.'" (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 18 - 21.)
Luke 5:11 when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him
James E. Talmage
"The occupants of the second boat were Zebedee and his two sons James and John, the last named being he who with Andrew had left the Baptist to follow Jesus at the Jordan. Zebedee and his sons were partners with Simon in the fishing business. When the two boats were brought to land, the brothers Simon and Andrew, and Zebedee's two sons James and John, left their boats and accompanied Jesus.
"The foregoing treatment is based on Luke's record; the briefer and less circumstantial accounts given by Matthew and Mark omit the incident of the miraculous draught of fishes, and emphasize the calling of the fishermen. To Simon and Andrew Jesus said: 'Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.' The contrast thus presented between their former vocation and their new calling is strikingly forceful. Theretofore they had caught fish, and the fate of the fish was death; thereafter they were to draw men-to a life eternal. To James and John the call was no less definite; and they too left their all to follow the Master." (Jesus the Christ, 186)
Luke 5:12 a man full of leprosy [said] Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean
Bruce R. McConkie
"Healings there have been in profuse abundance, but none-up to this point and as far as we know-has involved a leper, 'a man full of leprosy.' None has dealt with a body and soul plagued with a living death, one whose body was in process of rotting, decaying, and returning to the dust to gain merciful surcease from the torments of the flesh...
"Leprosy is an evil and wicked disease. 'The symptoms and the effects of this disease are very loathsome. There comes a white swelling or scab, with a change of the color of the hair . . . from its natural hue to yellow; then the appearance of a taint going deeper than the skin, or raw flesh appearing in the swelling. Then it spreads and attacks the cartilaginous portions of the body. The nails loosen and drop off, the gums are absorbed, and the teeth decay and fall out; the breath is a stench, the nose decays; fingers, hands, feet, may be lost, or the eyes eaten out. The human beauty has gone into corruption, and the patient feels that he is being eaten as by a fiend, who consumes him slowly in a long remorseless meal that will not end until he be destroyed. He is shut out from his fellows. As they approach he must cry, 'Unclean! unclean!' that all humanity may be warned from his precincts. He must abandon wife and child. He must go to live with other lepers, in disheartening view of miseries similar to his own. He must dwell in dismantled houses or in the tombs.'...
"Leprosy in biblical times, in addition to its desolating physical effects, was looked upon as the symbol of sin and uncleanness, signifying that as this evil disease ate away and destroyed the physical body, so sin eats away and corrupts the spiritual side of man...And so we find the Galilean, preaching the gospel in his beloved Galilee, in an unnamed city, when a man 'full of leprosy'-one in the last stages of the plague; one who is affected from head to toes, in all parts of his body; one for whom a dropsical death is not far distant-who, seeing Jesus, falls on his face, worships him, and says: 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.'" (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 2: 46.)
Luke 5:12-14 And he put forth is his hand, and touched him
"An object of extreme horror were the lepers in Israel. They were obliged to live apart from normal civilization and forbidden to have contact with others. They were regarded as the outcasts of humanity and victims of God's punishments. In contravention of the social and religious conventions of Jewry, Luke records that a leper approached Jesus and petitioned, 'Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean.' (Luke 5:12.) Jesus 'had compassion' on him and stretched forth His hand and 'touched him.' To the astonishment of those around Him, He touched the mucus, the pus, the sores. Nor was He repelled by the stench of the loathsome disease. Jesus touched him and said, 'I will: be thou clean!' And he was instantly.Luke 5:12-15" (Jesus Testifies He Is the Messiah , LDS Church News, 1995, 05/06/95 .)
"I can't help thinking that the sheer physical fact of a loving touch was as healing to this person, whom no one had willingly touched for years, as the words of compassion and the act of healing must have been." (Disciples, 121 - 122.)
Luke 5:15-16 he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed
Ezra Taft Benson
"Even when the Lord's time was most in demand, he was not too busy to pray." (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 120.)
Russell M. Ballard
"Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going...Jesus, our exemplar, often 'withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.' (Luke 5:16.) We need to do the same thing occasionally to rejuvenate ourselves spiritually as the Savior did." (Hope [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 129 - 130.)
Luke 5:19 they...let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"So many people imposed or seemed to impose on the Master's time and energies. Consider the palsied man who could not get into the house because it was full. They took the palsied one up on the housetop, 'and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.' (Luke 5:19.)
"Who may know what Jesus was teaching at that precise moment? Undoubtedly it would have been some pearl of great price. Those who lowered the man with palsy before Jesus apparently had not considered anyone but their friend. They did not hesitate to interrupt the Master Teacher, disrupt all who had gathered to hear the message, and remove part of the roof tile to lower the man through. A modern-day equivalent might be someone bursting into a meeting of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and other General Authorities to seek help for a personal need. Yet the Savior showed no anger, no offense. He knew the hearts of these people, so he healed the man and told him to take up his couch and go to his home." (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 131.)
Luke 5:20 when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee
"Although it was evident that the man was suffering from a physical ailment and was unable to walk, Jesus' first word to him was, 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.' ... It is very clear from the way this miracle is reported, particularly in the Joseph Smith Translation, that Jesus used the healing of the body, which they could see with their physical eyes, to illustrate his ability to heal a soul, which they could not see. He used this miracle as a teaching device. It surely worked well, for the people were all amazed and said, 'We never saw it on this fashion.'" (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 221.)
"Jesus could have told the palsied man that his sins were forgiven, and no observer would have been able to prove or disprove whether it actually was so. But when he commanded a sick man to rise and walk, the validity of his power was immediately able to be tested. Hence in a hostile situation it is easier to say that sins are forgiven. But so that those present would know that he had power to do both, Jesus used the healing of the body as evidence of his power to forgive sins." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 137.)
Luke 5:25 immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house
Thomas S. Monson
"Almost forty years ago I received an invitation to meet with President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, a statesman of towering stature, and a scholar of international renown. My profession then was in the field of printing and publishing...He proceeded to outline for me his goal of producing a harmony of the Gospels...I remembered as though it were yesterday President Clark asking me to read to him several of [the accounts of Jesus' miracles] while he sat back in his large leather chair and listened. This was a day in my life never to be forgotten.
"President Clark asked me to read aloud the account found in Luke concerning the man filled with leprosy. I proceeded to read: (quotes Luke 5:12-13.)
"He asked that I continue reading from Luke concerning the man afflicted with palsy and the enterprising manner in which he was presented for the attention of the Lord: (quotes Luke 5:18-25.)
"President Clark removed from his pocket a handkerchief and wiped the tears from his eyes. He commented, 'As we grow older, tears come more frequently.' After a few words of goodbye, I departed from his office, leaving him alone with his thoughts and his tears.
"As I reflect on this experience, my heart fills with gratitude to the Lord for His divine intervention to relieve the suffering, heal the sick, and raise the dead. I grieve, however, for the many, similarly afflicted, who knew not how to find the Master, to learn of His teachings, and to become the beneficiaries of His power. I remember that President Clark himself suffered heartache and pain in the tragic death at Pearl Harbor of his son-in-law, Mervyn S. Bennion, captain of the battleship West Virginia. That day there had been no ram in the thicket, no steel to stop the shrapnel, no miracle to heal the wounds of war. But faith never wavered, and answered prayers provided the courage to carry on." ("Miracles-Then and Now," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 68)
Luke 5:27 he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom
Bruce R. McConkie
"Publicans were tax collectors, representatives of an alien power which held the Jews in subjection, and as such they formed a hated, despised, and derided social group. No doubt it was particularly offensive to the Jews for one of their own race, such as Matthew, to accept such employment." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:181)
Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance
"One of the frequent criticisms the Pharisees aimed at Jesus was that he kept company with sinners. This accusation surfaced early in his ministry. Luke reports the call of Matthew the publican, then narrates Jesus' participation afterward at a feast in Matthew's house with other publicans and their 'irreligious' friends. Challenged for eating with this group, the Savior defended himself with a counter-challenge: 'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' (Luke 5:32.)
"That terse answer is, of course, ironic. In reality, the Son of God came to call all men to repentance-because all mankind has sinned. But some are so virtuous in their own eyes that they will not listen. Jesus told many parables that illustrated the narrow-mindedness of the self-righteous. Before one such story-the parable of the Pharisee and the publican-Luke mentions that Jesus 'spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.' (Luke 18:9.)
"Joseph Smith clearly identified why self-righteousness is so dangerous: it prevents repentance and keeps a person from developing the love of God. In an 1842 discourse, he said, 'All the religious world is boasting of its righteousness-it is the doctrine of the devil to retard ... our progress by filling us with self-righteousness.'
"On another occasion, the Prophet said: 'Christ was condemned by the righteous Jews because he took sinners into his society. He took them upon the principle that they repented of their sins. ... The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more are we disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls to take them upon our shoulders and cast their sins behind our back. ... There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof. ... You must repent and get the love of God.'" (Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Parables of Mercy," Ensign, Feb. 1987, 20)
Luke 5:34 Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
Christ's answer teaches us something fundamental about fasting. He indicates that since his disciples were in the presence of God already, they did not need to fast. Fasting, then, is intended to bring us closer to God. The disciples had already come as close as you can get, walking and talking with Jesus Christ.
The privilege of enjoying the presence of God on a daily basis was something that the disciples did not fully appreciate. Such a privilege obviated the need for certain things, including fasting and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We are taught that it was not necessary for the disciples to have the gift of the Holy Ghost when they were in the presence of another member of the Godhead.
Yet ironically, the children of the bridechamber did not progress nearly as fast while they were in the presence of the bridegroom as they did after He ascended. It was after he had left them to themselves, when they needed both fasting and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, that they progressed in personal righteousness, leadership, and scriptural understanding. This is probably most evident in the life and ministry of Peter. It becomes a lesson for all of us. While the purpose of life is to return to live in the presence of God, our progression in His presence is much slower than when we have to face evil on our own, pray for protection, fast for the Spirit, and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). But the goal of all this effort is to return to the chamber of the Bridegroom.
Luke 5:36-39 no man putteth new wine into old bottles
James E. Talmage
"In such wise did our Lord proclaim the newness and completeness of His gospel. It was in no sense a patching up of Judaism. He had not come to mend old and torn garments; the cloth He provided was new, and to sew it on the old would be but to tear afresh the threadbare fabric and leave a more unsightly rent than at first. Or to change the figure, new wine could not safely be entrusted to old bottles. The bottles here referred to were really bags, made of the skins of animals, and of course they deteriorated with age. Just as old leather splits or tears under even slight strain, so the old bottle-skins would burst from the pressure of fermenting juice, and the good wine would be lost. The gospel taught by Christ was a new revelation, superseding the past, and marking the fulfillment of the law; it was no mere addendum, nor was it a reenactment of past requirements; it embodied a new and an everlasting covenant. Attempts to patch the Judaistic robe of traditionalism with the new fabric of the covenant could result in nothing more sightly than a rending of the fabric. The new wine of the gospel could not be held in the old time-worn containers of Mosaic libations. Judaism would be belittled and Christianity perverted by any such incongruous association." (Jesus the Christ, 184)
Luke 5:39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better
Common to human nature, man likes best that which he is used to. Like a grandfather who extols the virtue of "the good old days" while refusing to try anything new, a man used to old wine can never be persuaded to taking even a sip of the new. The Jews were used to the old Mosaic Law. They had studied it, observed it (although superficially), and extolled the greatness of the law. But they were totally unfamiliar with the gospel of Jesus. Hence, they rejected Christ's new teachings, 'because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received' (DC 88:32).