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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 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 was 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 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 demonstra
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 ba not descended on them. In this interval they chose not to be idle, and therefore returned to their former employment. It to be remarked also that they had no other means of suppor While with Jesus they were commonly supplied by the ki ness of the people. But now when the Saviour had died, the were cut off from this means of support, and returned to t honest labour of their early lives.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishin They say unto him, We also go with thee. They we forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and th night they caught nothing.
That night they caught nothing. This was so ordered in providence of God, that the miracle which was wrought m appear more remarkable.
4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus sto on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it ▾ Jesus.
'Knew not that it was Jesus.' Probably it was yet twil and in the distance they could not distinctly recognise him. 5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have any meat? They answered him, No. Children.' A term of affection and friendship, 1 John Any meat? This word (Greek) means any thing eater
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the side of the ship, and ye shall find. They casti
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 as produced, whether it was, as Grotius, &c., suppose, by a iracle, or whether it was a place occupied by other fishermen. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which e have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and rew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred d fifty and three: and for all there were so many, et was not the net broken.
An hundred and fifty and three.' The number is mentioned cause it seems to have been a very unusual draught. This vinced them that it was no other than the same Saviour who 1 so often worked wonders before them that was now with them. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And e of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? owing that it was the Lord.
• Come and dine.'
The word in the original means the meat which is taken in the morning, or breakfast.
13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
'Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread,' &c. The design of this interview seems to have been to convince them that he had truly risen from the dead. Hence he performed a miracle before they suspected that it was he, that there might be no room to say that they had ascribed to him the power of the miracle through friendship and collusion with him. He remained with them, was with them at their meal, conversed with them, and thus convinced them that he was the same Friend who had died.
14 This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
'The third time.' See note at the end of Matthew.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
'Lovest thou me more than these ?" That is, "lovest thou me more than these other apostles love me?" In this question Jesus refers to the profession of superior attachment to him which Peter had made before his death, Matt. xxvi. 33;" though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." Com pare John xiii. 37. Jesus slightly reproves him for that claim: reminds him of his sad and painful denial, and now puts this direct and pointed question to him as a test of the present state of his feelings. After all that Peter had had to humble him, the Saviour inquired of him what had been the effect of all on bis mind, and whether it had tended to prepare him for the arduous toils in which he was about to engage. This question we shoul all put to ourselves. It is a matter of much importance that we should ourselves know what is the effect of the dealings of Divin Providence on our hearts, and what is our present state of feeli towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Thou knowest that I love thee. Peter now made no pretensions to a love superior to his brethre His sad fall had convinced him of the folly of that cla But still he could appeal to the Searcher of the heart, and s that he knew that he loved him. It is not the most confide pretensions that constitute the highest proof of love to Chris and the best state of feeling is when we can with humility, with confidence, look to the Lord Jesus and say, "Thou know. that I love thee." 'Feed my lambs.' The word here rende 'feed' means the care afforded by furnishing nutriment for flock. As a good shepherd provides for the wants of his fl so the pastor in the church is required to furnish food for