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entered in the usual way, though his sudden appearance alarmed them. 'Peace be unto you.' The sudden manner of his appearance, and the fact that most of them had not before seen him since his resurrection, tended to alarm them. Hence he addressed them in the usual form of salutation, to allay their fears, and to assure them that he was their own Saviour and Friend.
20 And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
'He showed unto them his hands,' &c. In this manner he gave them indubitable proofs of his identity. He showed them that he was the same Being who had suffered; that he had truly risen from the dead, and had come forth with the same body.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
As my Father hath sent me.' As God sent me to preach, to be persecuted, and to suffer; to make known his will, and to offer pardon to men; so I send you. This is the design and the extent of the commission of the ministers of the Lord Jesus. He is their model. And they will be successful only as they study his character, and imitate his example.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
'He breathed on them.' It was customary for the prophets to use some significant act to represent the nature of their message. See Jer. xiii. xviii. &c. In this case the act of breathing was used to represent the nature of the influence that should come upon them, and the source of that influence. When man was created, God breathed into him the breath of life, Gen. ii. 7. The word rendered Spirit in the scriptures denotes wind, air, breath, as well as Spirit. Hence the operations of the Holy Spirit are compared to the wind, John iii. 8. Acts ii. 2. Receive ye the Holy Ghost.' This was given to them as a certain sign or pledge that they should be endowed with the influences of the Holy Spirit. Compare Acts i. 4; ii.
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
s was here hint at any pre-eminence. This passage conclusively proves
they were invested with equal power in organizing and governing the church. The meaning of the passage is not that
'Whose soever sins,' &c. See note on Matt. xvi. 19; xviii. It is worthy of remark here that Jesus confers the same power on all the apostles. He gives to no one of them any peculiar authority. If Peter, as the papists pretend, had been appointed to any peculiar authority, it is wonderful that the Saviour did not that
man can forgive sins; this belongs only to God, Isa. xliii. 25; but that they should be inspired; that in founding the church, in declaring the will of God, and in establishing rules for spiritual discipline, they should be taught by the Holy Ghost, with an assurance that God would confirm all that they taught and enacted. This commission is as far as possible from the authority which the Roman Catholic claims of remitting sin and of pronouncing pardon.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
'Except I shall see,' &c. It is not known what was the ground of the incredulity of Thomas. The testimony of ten disciples should have been indeed sufficient, but an opportunity was thus given to the Saviour to convince the last of them of the truth of his resurrection. This instance shows, what all the conduct of the apostles proves, that they had not conspired together to impose on the world. They were all slow to believe, and one of them required even more than the testimony of ten of his brethren. How unlike this to the conduct of men who agree to impose a story on mankind!
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.
And after eight days again.' That is, on the return of the first day of the week. From this it appears that they thus early set apart this day for assembling together, and Jesus countenanced it by appearing twice with them. It was natural that the apostles should observe this day, but not probable that they would do it without the sanction of the Lord Jesus. His repeated presence gave such a sanction, and the historical fact is indisputable that from this time this day was observed as the chris tian sabbath. See Acts xx. 7. 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Rev. i. 10.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
My Lord and my God.' In this passage the name God' is expressly given to Christ, in his own presence and by one of his
own apostles. This declaration has been considered as a clear proof of the divinity of Christ, for the following reasons: 1. The language was addressed to Jesus himself: "Thomas-said unto him. 2. The Saviour did not reprove him, or check him at using any improper language. No pious man would have allowed such language to be addressed to him. 3. The Saviour proceeds immediately to commend Thomas for believing. But what was the evidence of his believing? It was this declaration, and this only. If this was a mere exclamation of surprise, what proof Iwas it that Thomas believed? Before this he doubted. Now he believed, and gave utterance to his belief that Jesus was his Lord and his God. 4. If this was not the meaning of Thomas, then his exclamation was a mere act of profaneness, and the Saviour would not have commended him for taking the name of the Lord his God in vain.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Because thou hast seen me.' Because you have looked upon my body, and seen the proofs that I am the same Saviour that was crucified. 'Blessed.' Happy, or worthy of the Divine approbation. It has here the force of the comparative degree, signifying that they would be, in some respects, more blessed than Thomas. They would evince higher faith. That have not seen,' &c. Those who should be convinced by the testimony of the apostles, and by the influences of the Spirit. God blesses those most who most implicitly rely on his word, and do not doubt the truth of what he says.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
'Other signs. Other miracles. Many were recorded by the other evangelists, and many which he performed were never recorded, ch. xxi. 25.
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
These are written.' Those recorded in this gospel. 'That ye might believe,' &c. This is a clue to the design which John had in view in writing this gospel. The whole scope or end of the book is to accomplish two objects: 1. To prove that Jesus was the Messiah; and, 2. That they who looked at the proof might be convinced, and have eternal life. The miracles, facts, arguments, instructions, and conversations of our Lord all tend to this. This point had not been kept in view so directly by either of the other evangelists, and it was reserved for the last of the apostles to collect those arguments, and make out a connected demonstra2 N
tion that Jesus was the Messiah. If this design of John is kept steadily in view, it will throw much light on the book.
1 AFTER these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.
'The sea of Tiberias.' Called also the sea of Galilee, being situated in Galilee. In this place Jesus had promised to meet them, Mark xiv. 28; xvi. 7. Matt. xxvi. 32; xxviii. 10. This interview of Jesus is but just mentioned by Matthew, xxviii. 16, and is omitted by both Mark and Luke. This is the reason why John relates so particularly what occurred there. On this wise.' Thus. In this manner.
2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. "There were together.' Probably residing in the same place. Their Master had been taken away, and the promised Spirit had not descended on them. In this interval they chose not to be idle, and therefore returned to their former employment. It is to be remarked also that they had no other means of support. While with Jesus they were commonly supplied by the kindness of the people. But now when the Saviour had died, they were cut off from this means of support, and returned to the honest labour of their early lives.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
That night they caught nothing. providence of God, that the miracle appear more remarkable.
4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
This was so ordered in the which was wrought might
'Knew not that it was Jesus.' Probably it was yet twilight, and in the distance they could not distinctly recognise him.
5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
Children.' A term of affection and friendship, 1 John ii. 18. 'Any meat?" This word (Greek) means any thing eaten with bread.
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast there
P. Johri thing eater 't on the cast the
fore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
'On the right side.' It does not appear that they yet recognised the Lord Jesus, but from some cause they had sufficient confidence in him to make another trial. Perhaps they judged that he was one skilled in that employment, and knew where there was the greatest probability of success.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
'It is the Lord.' He was convinced perhaps by the apparent miracle, and by looking more attentively on the person of one who had been the means of such unexpected and remarkable success. 'His fisher's coat.' This seems to have been a coarse garment worn over the tunic by fishermen. It is not the word which is used to express the outer nor the inner garment, but one which was employed only for this business. He was naked.' He was undressed, with nothing on but the under garment, or tunic. See 1 Sam. xix. 24. Did cast himself into the sea.' With characteristic ardour, desirous of meeting again his Lord, and showing his affection for him.
8 And the other disciples came in a little ship, (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
'Two hundred cubits.' About three hundred and fifty feet, or a little more than twenty rods.
9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
"They saw a fire,' &c. We have no knowledge whence this was produced, whether it was, as Grotius, &c., suppose, by a miracle, or whether it was a place occupied by other fishermen.
10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
'An hundred and fifty and three.' The number is mentioned because it seems to have been a very unusual draught. This convinced them that it was no other than the same Saviour who had so often worked wonders before them that was now with them.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.