Summary: A discussion of the calling of the first four disciples.
The First Disciples
Rev. Phillip A. Wright
I. The Invitations
A. Peter, James and John to become disciples.
1. Jesus’ sermon from Peter’s boat (5:1-3): He uses the boat as a platform to preach to the crown on the shore.
2. Jesus’ summons from Peter’s boat (5:4-11):
a. “Go out where it is deep and let down your nets and you will catch fish” (5:4-10a): They do and they catch so many fish that their boats nearly sink.
i. Peter called Jesus “Master” this is a generic word but it is only used 7 times in the New Testament and all 7 times it is used in speaking to Jesus.
ii. Jesus’ comments were clear to Peter but not so much to us. Jesus’ word for Launch (go out or put out) the boat was a serious word. The word was an Imperative verb and it was aorist. Jesus just ordered Peter to do something with his own boat. The word used also clearly had permanent or everlasting consequences. We will come back to the basis of this thought in a minute.
iii. prose,pesen verb indicative aorist active 3rd person singular; [UBS] prospi,ptw (aor. prose,peson, fem. ptc. prospesou/sa) fall at someone’s feet, fall down before someone; beat against (Mt 7.25)
iv. Notice that Peter had the ability to recognize that he should obey the Lord and he did.
v. However, Peter’s words back were just as powerful, his word for “Depart” directed at Jesus was also Imperative and Aorist.
vi. Here is what you are seeing, very powerful language both directions.
vii. In verse 8 Peter says Depart from me. Remember – Jesus told them to go let down their nets for a catch.
viii. After they saw what he could do, then they could understand the change in direction he made in verse 10. In essence:
ix. “From now on you’ll be fishers for people.” (5:10b-11): They follow Jesus and become his disciples. At this point some of the Disciples had already been called. These four for sure.
b. Verse 11 is a string of Aorist verbs.
i. Brought – the boats in, it was permanent.
ii. Forsook – they gave it up and walked away.
iii. Followed – they followed him permanently.
c. Remember all the disciples have not been called at this point. Probably just the four of them.
3. In vs. 12, the leper fell with the same power that Peter did. Both fell permanently.
a. The leper’s comment was equally powerful: “You can make me clean.” The word for cleanse is also Aorist showing the man clearly understood that Jesus’ cleansing would be permanent not just a temporary medical healing.
b. In the cleansing Jesus said he was willing (aorist). When the man’s leprosy left – it too was permanent (aorist).
4. Jesus leaves the area to pray by himself (vs. 17).
5. The next several verses deal with the paralytic man who is lowered through a roof to be set before Jesus.
a. Notice that the comments are clear that the man’s sins are forgiven.
b. Jesus seeing their faith forgives the man’s sins. I studied the language and the term “their faith” could include or exclude the man himself. The phrase is sufficiently vague that it could be either.
c. The scribes and Pharisees had tremendous heartache with Jesus forgiving the man’s sin.
d. There is a problem here; Jesus did not permanently forgive - avfe,wntai, verb indicative perfect passive 3rd person plural – in the sense that – the man could still sin and be held accountable for it.
e. The Pharisees asked who can forgive and they used the aorist tense in the sense that it was forever. avfei/nai verb infinitive aorist active
f. So they are not happy with Jesus and he sees it in them. So he asks “which is easier?”
g. So Jesus addresses the man directly and tells him to take his bed and go home.
h. He took his bed and rose up he did it permanently.
i. In doing so he gave the glory to God. Interesting that Jesus healed him and he gave glory to God. He tied the two together.
j. The people who saw this were amazed:
k. e;kstasij noun nominative feminine singular; [UBS] e;kstasij, ewj f amazement; trance, vision ( evge,neto evp/ auvto.n e;Å he had a vision Ac 10.10; cf. Ac 11.5; 22.17)
l. This word is the root of the English word “ecstatic.”
B. Jesus calls Levi to become his disciple
1. The conversation of Levi (5:27-28): This tax collector leaves his business to follow Jesus.
2. The celebration by Levi
a. Levi, left it all and followed Jesus with the same vigor that the others did. Permanently.
b. The background (5:29): Levi invites a large group of other tax collectors to his house to meet Jesus and to help him celebrate his new calling.