Summary: Are you ready to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus? Two examples: one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament shows us what it takes to be disciple of the Lord Jesus. See how the Lord calls and equips his disciples.
I have this reoccurring nightmare that goes something like this. It’s Sunday morning. I’m at church. The service is just about ready to start. I realize that I forgot to write a sermon. Why? I’m not sure. The church service is starting and I’m frantically trying to figure out what I’m going to do, what I’m going to say, realizing that I am completely unprepared. I’ve talked to a couple of other pastors, and strangely enough they’ve had similar dreams and I don’t think that we’re alone. You’ve probably had that dream where you are completely unprepared for something: a presentation at work, not having tickets for something, walking into a high school or college classroom for a final’s exam that you didn’t know you were supposed to take. You wake up and you hope it’s just a dream because it’s not a real good feeling to be unprepared. This morning I have a question for you, “Are you ready to be a disciple of Jesus?” This morning we going to look to God’s Word and to two men who were called to be disciples of the Lord, and see what it takes to be prepared to be disciple of Jesus.
The first person that we look at is Peter, the Galilean fisherman who we heard about in our gospel lesson this morning. Jesus came to Peter and three of his fellow fishermen and called them to be his full-time disciples. Did you notice that Jesus didn’t ask them. He didn’t say, “So are you guys ready to my disciples?” Jesus simply says, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (Luke 5:10). Peter had already realized something about himself when he had personally witnessed the divine power of Jesus with the miraculous catch of fish on that day. Peter realized that the man who stood before him was none other than the Lord God Almighty and so he fell to his knees and pleaded, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). Peter realized that on his own, he was woefully unprepared to stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus, no less, be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. Peter realized the same thing that Isaiah had come to realize 750 years earlier.
Isaiah was living in the southern part of Israel called Judah during the reign of King Uzziah, a powerful king who reigned for nearly 50 years. It was during this time that the Lord gave Isaiah a vision – a vision that began with awesome terror. You have the Lord sitting on the throne of a king which is “high and exalted” a position of power and authority. The train of his robe “filled the temple” demonstrating the vastness and majesty of the Lord. There are these 6-winged angelic creatures called “seraphim” hovering above the Lord, covering their faces in the presence of the Lord. The seraphs are calling back and forth to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Their glorious proclamation shakes the very foundations of this heavenly temple and fills it with smoke. Like Peter, Isaiah quickly realized who he was standing before, that this was none other than the Lord God Almighty and his reaction is nearly identical, “Woe to me! I am ruined!” (Isaiah 6:5).
At first this reaction might seem a little strange to us. We often talk about how good it will be to see the Lord. But there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of goodness in Isaiah’s vision, only terror. The truth is that it is only good to be in the presence of God if you are holy as God is holy. And Isaiah realized that he was anything but holy. He says, “For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). Our mouth reveals what is in our heart. The anger and resentment that lives in our heart demonstrates itself in hurtful and hateful words. Greed and selfishness leads to belittling others and lying in order to get ahead. These are the lips and hearts that have been stained by sin, that cannot live in the presence of a holy God. Isaiah would later right, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6). The writer to the Hebrews describes what it is like to be a sinner in the presence of a holy God when he writes, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Like Peter and Isaiah, we must admit that to stand before a holy God covered in the filth and stench of sin is a terrifying thought. By nature we are completely and utterly unprepared to stand before God. Instead of discipleship, we deserve to be banished from God’s presence for eternity.