Summary: An analysis of Jesus' calling of his first disciples will teach us what characterizes a true disciple of Jesus.
Luke wrote his Gospel about the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus who came to seek and to save lost sinners. Luke wanted to communicate that God sent his only Son Jesus as the Messiah to deliver people from sin and hell.
The central theme of Jesus’ message was the kingdom of God. Jesus called people to become his followers in the kingdom of God. Today I would like to look at the account in which Jesus called the first disciples.
Let’s read about Jesus’ calling of his first disciples in Luke 5:1-11:
1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11)
When I was working with students as a campus minister at the University of Cape Town I remember a student who made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For the first few months he attended worship services on Sunday and was active in a Bible study on campus. But then he started attending less and less. After a few weeks I spoke with him about what it.
“Attending worship services and Bible studies are interfering with me playing cricket,” he said. He was an outstanding cricket player who played for the University of Cape Town.
Having played cricket myself I knew well how time consuming the game was. Nevertheless, it was still possible to be active in worship services and Bible studies while playing cricket. The key was a matter of priorities.
I suggested to the student that he could still play cricket and be active in worship and Bible study. But he did not agree.
I realized that he was no longer serious about following Jesus. He was more interested in playing cricket than following Jesus. He did not want to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.
Luke wants his readers to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. He wants us to know who Jesus is. That is why gives us so many clear facts about Jesus’ life and ministry. He tells us about the miraculous conception of Jesus, and that he is a descendant of David. Jesus teaches with authority. He heals people of demons and diseases in order to demonstrate his unique power. Luke wants us to know for sure that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of sinners.
Luke tells us all of these things so that we will follow Jesus as our Lord and our God. He wants each one of us to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. As soon as we know for sure that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of sinners, we must follow him, which is what it means to be a disciple. A disciple follows Jesus wholeheartedly. That is what it means to be a true disciple.
To help us make a commitment to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, Luke tells us about Jesus’ calling of his first disciples in Luke 5:1-11.
An analysis of Jesus’ calling of his first disciples in Luke 5:1-11 will teach us what characterizes a true disciple of Jesus.
I. A True Disciple Listens to Jesus (5:1-3)
First, a true disciple listens to Jesus.
By the time that Jesus called his first disciples as recorded in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus had already been preaching for over a year. By this time he had become an extremely popular preacher, and great crowds of people thronged to hear him.