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Jesus Calls the First Disciples

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Sermon shared by Freddy Fritz

April 2013
Summary: An analysis of Jesus' calling of his first disciples will teach us what characterizes a true disciple of Jesus.
Denomination: Presbyterian/Reformed
Audience: General adults
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eat their vegetables. But they don’t like to eat their vegetables and ask why they should eat them. You say, “Because it is good for you.” Naturally your children do not understand why it is good to eat vegetables, but you insist. And as your children grow older, they eventually come to understand that eating vegetables is necessary for a well-rounded diet.

Similarly, a true disciple does what Jesus says, even though he may not fully understand the reason for obedience.

III. A True Disciple Is a Penitent Disciple (5:8-10a)

Third, a true disciple is a penitent disciple.

A true disciple of Jesus must turn from sin. Simon Peter turned from sin, and was perhaps the first true disciple of Jesus to repent of his sin.

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon (5:8-10a).

Peter was astonished at the catch of fish, but he was completely overwhelmed by realizing that he—a sinful man—was in the presence of Jesus. It is at this point that Peter realized that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of sinners. And the reason I say that is because in verse 5 Peter called Jesus “Master,” but here in verse 9 he now calls him “Lord.” Commentator Alfred Plummer says, “It is the ‘Master’ whose orders must be obeyed, the ‘Lord’ whose holiness causes moral agony to the sinner.” Peter was acknowledging the sovereign and supreme lordship and holiness of Jesus, even as he acknowledged and confessed his own sinfulness and depravity.

Every true disciple is a penitent disciple. Far too many people simply want “fire insurance.” They don’t want to burn in hell, and so they will say whatever is necessary to escape hell. So, they will say that they are sorry for their sin and that they want to give it up, but there is no real turning. Or, they are sorry for a short while, but after a period they become dulled to the ongoing sin in their lives. And before long they have happily wandered back into the ways of the world.

Every true disciple says what Peter said, “I am a sinful man, O Lord.” And he does not only do it once, at the start of the Christian life, but he does it constantly, throughout his Christian life.

IV. A True Disciple Tells Others About Jesus (5:10b)

Fourth, a true disciple tells others about Jesus.

Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us in a penitent state. First, he said to Simon, “Do not be afraid” (5:10b). Jesus assured Peter that his sins did not disqualify him from God’s love. In fact, it is only those who recognize and confess their sins that God will forgive and use.

And then Jesus said to Simon Peter, “From now on you will
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