« FöregåendeFortsätt »
oppressed the mind of Peter at this time. It made him say, Depart from me, O Lord. He thought that a person of such power and majesty as Jesus had by this miracle discovered Himself to be, could not be a fit companion for a sinful man like himself. When a sense of guilt is brought home to the soul, the contrast between its own state, and that of infinite purity, appears so amazing, that the greatest apprehension and uneasiness are excited in the sinner's mind, lest Divine vengeance should overtake him, and render to him according to his deserts. Hence he is desirous, if possible, to dismiss the ideas which cause him so much pain and distress. The convinced sinner says in his heart, Oh! that there were no God to call me to account for my sins! Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. Peter was anxious for the departure of Jesus, as the only means of removing the dread which had seized upon him. But if he had considered the goodness of Christ in working such a miracle for his benefit, gratitude would have swelled his breast, rather than a dread of the presence of his gracious Benefactor.
The Evangelist explains the reason of his conduct: For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken and so were also James and John, the
73 Psalm xiv. 1.
sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. When, however, Peter had expressed his feelings of terror and astonishment at the miracle wrought in His favour, of which he felt himself to be so unworthy, our blessed Lord kindly directed him to dismiss his fears; and informed him moreover that He was about to invest him with a new character; for instead of remaining in the humble avocation of a fisherman, he should in due time be employed in the higher and more honourable calling of an Apostle of Christ, to rescue the souls of men from perdition. Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. Or, as the other Evangelists state the fact, He said to him, and his companions, James and John, Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." This kind invitation had so powerful an effect upon their minds, that, as it is recorded in the text, when they had brought their ships to land, and had disposed of the cargo which had been so miraculously supplied to them, they forsook all, and followed Him. They gave over the pursuit of worldly gain, and became attendants and disciples of the Lord Jesus, to be made use of by Him as He should see fit.
We are now to consider the conduct here described, as affording an example for our imita
74 Matthew iv. 19. Mark i. 17.
tion. The text may be viewed as illustrating the nature of the Christian profession; which is here exhibited in a two-fold point of view. It requires us
First, To forsake all those things to which mankind naturally look for happiness. And
Secondly, To follow Christ as our only Saviour. These disciples forsook all for Christ's sake. The importance of this, in a general point of view, appears from a subsequent declaration of our blessed Saviour, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple. In accordance with this idea, it was promised and vowed in our names at our Baptism, that we "should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh." These are the things to which fallen man by nature looks for happiness. The works of the devil are direct acts of disobedience to the commands of God, which the enemy of souls tempts mankind to commit; insinuating to them as he did to our first parent, that no harm will follow the transgression of the holy law of God. The riches, and honours, and pleasures of the world are things which many are ardently pursuing, as though the possession of them were the only object of life. And the gratification of un
75 Luke xiv. 33.
lawful desires is eagerly sought by numbers as though it did not expose them to the just displeasure and indignation of Almighty God. These things, however, which were renounced in our names at our Baptism, must be forsaken by us, so as not to follow, nor be led by them, if we would enter into the kingdom of heaven. The unrighteous, who do the works of the devil, the votaries of this world, who are seeking their portion in this life, and those who fulfil the desires of the flesh and of the mind, shall not inherit the kingdom of God." They will not be acknowledged by our Lord Jesus Christ as His disciples, nor partake of His blessing. Selfdenial in whatever is pleasing to the fallen nature of man, is required of all the disciples of Christ. Self-confidence and self-dependence must be renounced, as well as self-gratification in other respects. His language to all His disciples is, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.78 We must forsake all self-righteous dependencies, as well as the ways of disobedience and transgression; all trust in our own hearts, as well as the gratification of our members which are upon the earth 79 and be willing simply and earnestly, as it is to be observed in the
Second place, to follow Christ, bearing His re
76 Psalm xvii. 14. 77 1 Cor. vi. 9. 78 Luke ix. 23. 79 Colos. iii. 5.
proach; like Moses, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world; and having respect unto the recompence of the reward, which will be received at the resurrection of the just.81 Such was the conduct of the Apostles described in the text. They forsook all, and followed Him, who called them by His grace to be His disciples. This is the great object proposed by the Christian vocation. Jesus Christ is the object of supreme regard with those who are in reality believers in Him. They follow Him as their only Saviour; that they may partake of the blessings which He came into the world to bestow upon the sinful children of men. The Apostles of Christ followed Him in the first instance as their Teacher, that they might be instructed by Him. And He taught them that He was the Messiah, the Son of God, who came into the world to be the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind; or, as prophecy had foretold, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness; 82 in order that by His obedience many might be made righteous, being justified by faith in His name ; and might have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
As the Messiah, He was the anointed
80 Heb. xiii. 13. xi.26. 81 Luke xiv. 14. 82 Dan.ix.24. 83 Rom.v.1,19.