Calling the First Disciples

02 Oct
from Google Images

from Google Images

It is actually John who shows how five men first came into contact with Jesus following his baptism. Andrew and an unnamed disciple left John the Baptist to be with Jesus on the way back to Galilee from the Jordan (John 1:37-39). When they arrived in Galilee, Andrew went to fetch his brother, Peter (John 1:40), and the following day Jesus found Philip, who then told Nathaniel who also

came to see Jesus (John 1:43, 45). These are the first five men who came to listen to what Jesus had to say, and it is implied in the Synoptics that some of Jesus’ disciples were with him in Capernaum and probably Nazareth, as well (cf. Luke 4:38 and Mark 1:13).[1]

In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus called four men to be with him (Peter, Andrew, James and John). It happened after Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39). As Jesus walked along the beach of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16), people were following him and thronged him in an effort to hear him speak (Luke 5:1). When Jesus saw Peter, he and Andrew were casting a small net into the sea from the shore, while Zebedee, his son and servants were washing the nets (Mark 1:16; Luke 5:2). In an effort to put some distance between himself and the multitude, Jesus hopped into Peter’s boat and asked him to pull a short distance away from shore, and Peter seemed very willing to accommodate.

After dismissing the people Jesus then told Peter to go out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch (Luke 5:4). It is evident that Peter now felt imposed upon, but he respected Jesus, calling him Master (teacher), and such a title demanded obedience from one’s student. Nevertheless, Peter let down the net (singular – Luke 5:5), but Jesus told him to let down the nets (plural – Luke 5:4). The event also involved his partners, James and John, because it was large dragnet (G1350) rather than the small net (G293) Peter was using along the shore when Jesus arrived (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16). The result was embarrassing! When Peter saw that the net was breaking due to the amount of fish caught (Luke 5:6-9), he realized he was grossly in error. Peter thought his experience as a fisherman, and the fact that nothing was caught all night, that the carpenter from Nazareth was asking a lot of him, but Peter, nevertheless, complied only because of his growing respect for Jesus. Yet, in the end it was the Carpenter that showed himself able to teach Peter things he didn’t know about fishing.

What occurs next really astonishes me in contrast with what I’ve always been told in Christian circles. That is, that Jesus never once criticized Peter for his lack of obedience (using a net instead of the nets) or his little faith. Jesus wasn’t so much interested in Peter’s performance as he was his trust, and even though Peter’s faith was little, Jesus used what was given him to perform a miracle. This miracle was enough to cause Peter to fall on his knees before Jesus and refer to him not as Master, having authority over Peter as a disciple, but Lord, having total authority over Peter as a person (Luke 5:5, 8). At this point Peter admitted that Jesus was truly the Messiah—the Lord of Israel.

In Nazareth no one believed Jesus. In fact, they wanted to cast Jesus off a high pinnacle in an effort to prove he wasn’t the Messiah, the Son of God (Luke 4:28-29; cf. 4:9-11). When Jesus came to Capernaum, one (a demoniac) recognized him as the Messiah, but he told Jesus that Jesus and Israel had nothing in common. In fact, if Jesus persisted in his claim, he would bring only destruction upon the nation. Yet, in this wilderness of unbelief and rejection, a few were listening and taking everything they saw and heard to heart. Jesus knew who they were, which is why he came to the beach of the Sea of Galilee in the first place (Mark 1:16). It wasn’t so much to preach to the crowd that thronged him (Luke 5:1). Jesus wanted to catch Peter, the fisherman, and his partners and bring them into the Kingdom of God in order to make them fishers of men (Luke 5:10; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17).


[1] If Jesus went to Peter’s home on the Sabbath, it implies they knew one another before that Sabbath day, but the Gospel of John implies neither Andrew nor Peter knew Jesus prior to Jesus’ baptism. Mark 1:13 refers to Jesus’ temptation immediately following his baptism. I have been showing in recent studies that the “wilderness” where Jesus was tempted had to have been a wilderness of people, unbelieving people. Therefore, the “wild beasts” in Mark 1:13 point to unbelievers who tempted Jesus, while the “angels” who ministered to Jesus point to messengers whom Jesus would later send out in his name. In other words the angels in Mark 1:13 refer not to spirit beings but to those who would later become Jesus apostles.

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Posted by on October 2, 2016 in Gospel of Luke


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