Excerpt from: The Lord Calls Sinners by David Benson Kiehn


A True Disciple Recognizes the Divinity of Jesus

Verse 6:
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

This is incredible.  Only a few hours earlier, zero fish had been caught.  They labored all night and caught nothing, and now they had so many fish that the nets were beginning to break and the boats were beginning to sink.  This was a miracle!!!  We do not know if this was a miracle of knowledge, meaning that Jesus knew where the fish were going to be, or a miracle of power, in that the fish were drawn to the nets, but what we do know was this was a miracle by Jesus.  This miracle made an incredible impression on the fishermen.  They knew that this was something special. Verse 9:

For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partner.

Peter, James, and John recognized that Jesus was the Lord. Peter responded by falling at Jesus’ knees, an act of worship, and called Him Lord. Before one can become a true disciple of Jesus, one must first recognize His divinity.  This was God in the flesh.  Peter had heard Jesus’ teaching and seen his miracles. Peter came face to face with the one true and living God.  The most important person for a true disciple is Jesus Christ.  All true disciples love and worship Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and the one true, living God.  
Our culture does not like Jesus and His disciples because of His exclusive claims on being God.  Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  All other religions, according to Jesus, are wrong.  There is only one way to God the Father and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ.  If you do not believe in the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ then you cannot be a true disciple. We should take Jesus Christ at His Word. Believe in the most inclusive exclusive claims of the gospel. All are welcome, but all must come through Jesus.

A True Disciple Recognizes their Sin before Jesus

Verse 8,
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus knees and said, “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man!”(emphasis added)

The closer one gets to Jesus Christ, the more one recognizes their own sin. When sinners enter into the holy presence of the Lord, their own sin is magnified.  We see this same reaction from Isaiah in the 6th chapter of his prophecy:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (emphasis added)

In the holy presence of God, a sinner cannot escape their own sinfulness.  A true disciple does not attempt to hide their sin or justify their sin.  A true disciple is undone and grieved with their own sinfulness. Peter and Isaiah both recognize that they could not stand in the presence of the God.  They realize that because of their sin, they should be cast out of the presence of the Lord. 

            Every true disciple must recognize their own sin and the consequences of that sin.  Our sin against God condemns us to Hell.  We rightly deserve to be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. If we don’t understand what our sinfulness deserves, we will never fully follow Jesus.  People do not want to hear about their sin.  They want to hear positive message of hope, but the hope that we have in the gospel is the only real message of hope.  The Bible exposes that we are far more sinful than we could ever imagine, but we are also far more loved than we could ever dare dream.  Our sin is great, but God’s grace is greater.

Grace, Grace, God’s grace/ Grace that will pardon and cleanse within /Grace, Grace, God’s grace/ Grace that is greater than all our sin.[1]

We should never be afraid to admit the wickedness in our own heart.  We don’t want to believe it’s there, but, make no mistake, it is most definitely there. When we do not acknowledge our sin, we hinder our ability to love Jesus.  Jesus tells this parable:

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly… He, who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:41-43;47 ESV)

We love Jesus more when we realize how much we have been forgiven.  So, when we admit the depths of our sin, we are able to more clearly see how much we have been forgiven. Then we can sing:

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

            How are we forgiven? We are forgiven through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Our sin brings judgment. For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).  We all deserve death because of our sin. And God being fair and just must punish us for our sin,  but God, who is rich in mercy, sent Jesus to be punished for us. He died in our place, and after His death, God raised Him from the dead, conquering the grave for anyone who would put their trust in Him.  Jesus took our death that we deserve, and He accredited His righteousness to us by faith.  We are forgiven by the shed blood of Jesus, all of our sin, past, present, and future. All of our shameful, wicked, perverse sins are forgiven by faith in the Son of God.   A true disciple recognizes his sin before Jesus.

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[1] Grace Greater than Our Sin. Julia H. Johnston, in Hymns Tried and True (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: The Bi­ble In­sti­tute Col­port­age As­so­ci­a­tion, 1911), num­ber 2.