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Weekly Word

Entries in Preaching (1)


Becoming A Disciple Of Jesus

We continue our discovery of the True Jesus in the Gospel according to Luke.  In chapter 4 we saw how Jesus was initially rejected by those from his hometown and yet sought out by those who were in the region of the Sea of Galilee.  It is clear that Luke is not giving a strict chronology, although his Gospel does follow the pattern of the birth of Jesus, the ministry of Jesus, and the death of Jesus.  Within this ministry section we find Luke giving detail but also skipping around chronologically.  In chapter 5 Luke gives us insight into the calling of some of the disciples to not just be those who believed him, but to also follow him wherever he went.

Hearing the Word of God

In verses 1-3 we see that Jesus had gone down to the Lake of Gennesaret.  This is just another name for the Sea of Galilee, which is also called Lake Tiberias.  They are most likely near Bethsaida where Peter lived, however the exact location is not stated.  What is stated is that Jesus was there to share the Word of God.  Jesus was popular and soon an unorganized crowd had developed around him as he shared God’s Word.  This is an important part of understanding what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  It starts with a desire to hear the Word of God and then coming to Jesus to receive it.  He is the ultimate Light of the World that stands above all the prophets of the Old Testament.  To be a disciple is to be one who sees Jesus as the one who has the Word of God.

As it gets crowded on the beach we are told that some fishermen are nearby.  We know that there has been interaction between Jesus, Andrew, and Peter in the past due to John’s gospel.  So Jesus most likely chose this spot and this time on purpose.  He just happens to be preaching when Peter and his partners are cleaning and mending their nets after a long night of fishing.  Notice that Jesus asks Peter for help.  Perhaps if we were there we would think that it was unspiritual or rude of these fishermen to clean their nets while Jesus is teaching.  But Jesus sees an opportunity here.  He asks Peter to lend him his boat so that he can preach from it.  That would solve the practical problem of the difficulty of the crowd to hear and see Jesus.  This is typical of God.  Though he can do all things, He wants us to join Him in what He is doing.

At this point I would ask you what the goal of preaching is.  Why is Jesus preaching to these people?  Simply put they need Truth.  The goal of preaching is for the salvation of its hearers.  Yes, not all believe and are saved.  But without the Truth no one could be saved from not just problems in their life, but primarily the bondage of sin.  The Apostle Paul demonstrates this in Romans 10:13-15.  He starts with the Truth: All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  He then asks this question.  How can we get people to call on the Lord?  Answer: they first have to believe that the Lord can help them.  How can they believe?  They have to hear the Truth about Who Jesus is, there own predicament, and what he has done about it.  How can they hear?  Someone has to preach the Truth to them.  Who will preach?  God must give His Truth to someone and send them.  Thus God sends us to preach so that others can hear the Truth, believe in their heart, call upon the Lord and be saved.  Every disciple is the result of that process.

Listening To His Directions

In verses 4-7, Jesus has finished preaching.  However, he now has some personal business for Peter and Andrew.  This part of the story ends with them catching more fish than they could imagine, enough nearly to sink two boats.  Is Jesus just paying them back for helping him?  We could think of this passage as Jesus showing that you can’t out give God.  But I don’t think that is what is going on here.  In fact, there is no indication that Peter and Andrew materially benefit from this catch.  It seems more that Jesus is giving them a personal lesson of just what he can do.

Now it all starts with some simple directions from Jesus.  Go out into the deep and cast out your nets.  Jesus doesn’t ask something difficult, nor is it something illogical.  However, it isn’t the sense or logic that they would have employed.  This is a big obstacle to being a disciple of Jesus.  He will ask us to do things that we wouldn’t.  We have all kinds of reasons why we shouldn’t do it.  We have all kind of feelings that are opposed to doing it (whatever it is).  Other obstacles that can keep us from being true disciples of Jesus are lust, pride, fear, and many others.  Disciples don’t just hear the Word of God from Jesus.  They also listen and obey.  Peter is tired.  He has fished out that whole area.  Why is this carpenter from the hills down here telling me to go back to work when I’m done for the day?  Yet, he responds with surrender.  “I don’t want to, but nevertheless because you ask it I will do it.”  He could have missed out that day.  But he had heard and seen too much of Jesus to not listen to this man.

Now Jesus isn’t just about miracles.  In fact they are actually secondary to why he came to earth.  Miracles are to reinforce the message.  So let me insert an end-times warning at this point.  The Scriptures tell us that the antichrist and false prophet will do lying signs and wonders.  People will be astonished at the power they have.  However, the problem will be that their message is not the message of the True Jesus.  We don’t receive Jesus just because he did miracles.  But we do so because only he has the words of life, the Words of God.  Miracles can help us to surrender our flesh when we know he is right.  But never let it push you to surrender the Truth when the Bible shows someone is wrong.

Understanding The Truth About Jesus And Me

Now verses 8-11 teach us something about being a disciple.  Somewhere in the middle of that great miraculous catch of fish, somewhere in the midst of pulling in nets, signaling the other boat, wrestling all the fish into the boat and struggling to get to shore…somewhere in the middle of all that Peter understands something.  Peter saw himself for what he truly was in contrast with Jesus.  The shame and guilt of his own sin becomes so obvious and hideous to Peter that he begs the Lord to leave him.  Even as the light dawns on Peter, the flesh and the devil are working overtime to keep him in the dark.  Pushing Jesus away because he is so righteous and we are not, is a mistake.  All disciples enter by the narrow gate of understanding this problem.  He is good and I am not.

With great tenderness, as only he can do, Jesus tells Peter to not be afraid.  Don’t let your fears rob you of being my disciple, Peter.  Leave your fears behind and come follow me.  Yes, I am holy, but I am also love.  I don’t love your sins, but I am committed to transforming you if you will enter into relationship with me.  You must understand that your fears will cause you to separate from the very thing you need.  A true disciple of Jesus has to learn to wrestle with fears and lay them at the feet of Jesus.

In fact let me close with this picture.  The Bible tells us that marriage is a picture of Jesus and his disciples, his Church, his bride.  If marriage is a picture of that relationship then we should look at that original marriage of Adam and Eve.  The Bible says that this is why a man will leave his family and cleave to his wife.  All successful marriages learn the lessons of how to leave others behind and cleave to one another.  Forsaking all and following him, Peter became, not just a hearer of Jesus, but a true disciple.

O friend, make sure today that you aren’t chasing Jesus to get something out of Him.  These guys actually walked away from what Jesus supplied that day in order to have a closer relationship with Jesus.  Be a true disciple of the true Jesus today.


Becoming a Disciple audio