He was called to be a disciple (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-42) and appointed to be an apostle (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16).
Yesterday evening the Life group which meets in my wife’s and my home completed our study of the above key event in Peter’s life. The previous week we had studied John 1:35-42 and Mark 1:16-20. This week we studied Luke 5:1-11 and Mark 3:13-19. The other passages given in the statement are parallel to passages which we studied.
For Luke 5:1-11, we did the questionnaire on the passage given in The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups (Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, page 1341). For Mark 3:13 we discussed a few of the questions asked in Serendipity Bible for Groups on Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, and Luke 6:12-16. I have permission from Serendipity House to reproduce material from Serendipity Bible for Groups for small group use.
1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”1 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (ESV)
Before we did the questionnaire, I explained that its first question’s referring to Luke 5:1-11 as the first meeting of Jesus and Peter is incorrect because both John 1:35-42 and Mark 1:16-20 (Matthew 4:18-22) occurred before it. I reminded the group that the previous week I had told them that we know that the calling described in Luke 5:1-11 occurred after the calling described in Mark 1:16-20 because Mark records Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law after recording the calling (Mark 1:29-31) but Luke records it before recording the calling (Luke 4:38-39).
The questionnaire was divided into two parts, Looking into the Scripture and My Own Story. We didn’t agree in our answers for any of the questions in Looking into the Scripture. However the majority of us expressed these opinions:
1. What stood out about this meeting of Jesus and Peter was how Jesus showed his interest in Peter’s work.
2. If we had been Peter, we would have done what he did when Jesus asked him to “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
3. When they “enclosed [such] a large number of fish [that] their nets were breaking,” Peter realized who Jesus was.
4. When Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord,” he meant, “I feel uncomfortable being around you because of my sinful life.”
5. “They left everything and followed him” because they were intrigued by the thought of becoming “fishers of men.”
The questions in My Own Story ask for personal information and so, although we shared our answers in the group, I won’t share them here.
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean [“kananaios” means “zealot” and many versions of the Bible, including the 2016 version of ESV, have “Simon the Zealot” instead of “Simon the Cananaean”], 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (ESV, 2007)
I observed that where Matthew, Mark, and/or Luke have parallel accounts of an event I would give the account from Mark, who according to tradition based his Gospel on the preaching of Peter, but would note where Matthew and/or Luke differs from Mark. Then I read Mark 3:13-19 and noted the main differences between it and the accounts in Matthew 10:1-4 and Luke 6:12-16. They included:
– Matthew doesn’t say that they went up on a mountain.
– Luke observes that Jesus prayed all night on the mountain before calling the twelve to him.
– The KJV and NKJV of Mark 3:13-19 has “and to have power to heal sicknesses” between “to preach” and “and to cast out devils/demons.” Matthew has just casting out unclean spirits and healing diseases and afflictions as things that Jesus appointed the twelve to do, and Luke doesn’t say what he appointed them to do.
– Matthew and Luke list Andrew immediately after Peter, Matthew lists Matthew after instead of before Thomas, Luke has “James the son of Alphaeus” instead of “Thaddeus,” and Luke has “Simon the Zealot” instead of “Simon the Cananean.”
We discussed why Jesus would have appointed the twelve “to be with him.” The group suggested that he did so to equip them for ministry and I added that he might also have done so to have companions in his ministry. Matthew Henry has a long comment on the phrase, saying: “He ordained them (probably by the imposition of hands, which was a ceremony used among the Jews), that they should be with him constantly, to be witnesses of his doctrine, manner of life, and patience, that they might fully know it, and be able to give an account of it; and especially that they might attest the truth of his miracles; they must be with him to receive instructions from him, that they might be qualified to give instructions to others. It would require time to fit them for that which he designed them for; for they must be sent forth to preach; not to preach till they were sent, and not to be sent till by a long and intimate acquaintance with Christ they were fitted. Note, Christ’s ministers must be much with him.”
We discussed these questions which I asked from those asked in Serendipity Bible for Groups on the passage:
– What is their [the Twelve’s] purpose?
– Why such ordinary guys?
– What does it mean for you to be “with him”?
– [What does it mean] to be “sent out” by him?