The Fifth Sunday after Trinity
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 7 PM Central Time
The Hymn # 199 Jesus Christ is Risen 1:83
The Confession of Sins
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #200 I Know that My Redeemer 1:80
At Thy Word
The Communion Hymn # 187 Christ Is Arisen 1:45
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 195 (Luther) Christ Jesus 1:46
KJV 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
KJV Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 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 was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Fifth Sunday After Trinity
O Jesus Christ, Thou Son of the living God, who hast given us Thy holy word, and hast bountifully provided for all our temporal wants, we confess that we are unworthy of all these mercies, and that we have rather deserved punishment: But we beseech Thee, forgive us our sins, and prosper and bless us in our several callings, that by Thy strength we may be sustained and defended, now and forever, and so praise and glorify Thee eternally, Thou who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
At Thy Word
This seems to be such a simple miracle story, because we know it so well. However, we should also look at the application of the main lesson.
This miracle pits the experience and knowledge of professional fishermen against Christ, the Son of God and Lord of Creation. We all know who is going to win.
But that is why the miracle is so important to apply to our own lives. These men knew how to fish and had the equipment. They were not lazy. They labored all night and did the best they could, without catching any fish.
They were all done for the night and washing the nets when Jesus appeared and entered Peter’s ship. He sat down in the ship, which is the custom for rabbis teaching (see the Sermon on the Mount), and began teaching.
Therefore the fishermen were filled with the Word when Jesus asked them to push out from the shore and let down their nets.
One can hear the exasperation in the voice of Peter when he said, “Master, we labored all night and caught nothing. But at Thy Word, I will let down the net.” He spoke from faith because the teaching of Jesus already filled him with trust in Him. Still, his experience and knowledge also pulled at him.
When he let down the net, such a large shoal of fish filled it that it began to break. He asked his partners to help, and both ships were so filled with fish that they began sink.
5) Peter realizes what Jesus means. Not the deep but the places of moderate depth are the right ones for fishing; not the broad daylight but the nighttime is the best for fishing. And he is certainly susceptible to the opinion of the crowds on the shore. Luke never uses “Rabbi” but always the vocative ἐπιστάτα as the address to Jesus, “Master,” one standing over others. Peter has a word for the second of the indicated considerations: “having labored through the whole night, we took not a thing.” Jesus did not perhaps know that. Peter is not raising an objection as though he were refusing Jesus; he is uttering a misgiving, for he and his helpers worked in the best places of the lake at the best time and continued their labor many hours with absolute failure. Jesus was asking much of Peter, and by this word Peter shows how strongly he felt it.
Peter declares that he will obey. The emphasis is on the phrase, which is put forward for that reason: “on thy utterance” will I lower the nets, and ῥῆμα refers to the mere speaking of Jesus. He intends to say, “The fact that thou hast spoken commands my will.” That is exactly what Jesus wanted: Peter was to drop everything else and to throw himself absolutely on his Lord’s utterance alone. Yea, he was to go counter to all his own experience, science, wisdom, reason, or what not, including all that men might say and to hold to only one thing, his Lord’s word. It was a great test of genuine faith in whatever Jesus might say; on top of that it was to be an unforgettable experience for Peter to have absolute confidence in his Lord’s word in all his future apostolic work. And Peter’s experience is set down for us so that in us, too, layman and preacher, it may produce the same effect. It is thus that faith overcomes the world, the faith that conquers by the Word and by nothing but the Word. The weakness of our believing and of our preaching lies in not taking Jesus altogether at his word.
Peter says “I will lower,” for the boat is his, and he is in command. Jesus uses the singular “put out” and then the plural “lower your nets.” So from the start Peter had his men with him in the boat, which was of good size, for it at times carried all the disciples and Jesus. We are not certain whether Andrew was there too, for he is not mentioned in the entire account. Note also the plural “nets.” These required several men to handle them. Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 279
These are large, flat fishing ships designed for their vocation, so an enormous catch starting to sink them is a wonder enough. But these fish were caught in the day, in the sight of the crowds, and in relatively shallow water.
Simon Peter knew at once he was in the presence of God. He was overwhelmed with his sinfulness, so he said, “Go away from me. I am a sinful man.”
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men.”
Each phrase is important, especially when Jesus spoke it. “Do not be afraid” is the same as saying, “Have faith in my Word.” The lack of faith causes fear.
Trusting God goes against the Old Adam. We have our wealth of knowledge and experience, which says, “This cannot be done.” I find it interesting that so many missions have to be started with a million dollars and a carefully crafted plan. They know how to buy land, build a first unit, organize, and measure everything. Because so much money is at stake, they hedge their bets with all kinds of sure-fire cures. Magazines and websites are full of them, from pop music and puppets to sound systems and movie screens.
And people have to be very old to remember the last time the country was facing so much economic turmoil at once. The uncertainty only grows. God’s Word says repeatedly, “I will take care of your material needs.”
KJV Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
God provides, as this miracle show, and He provides in such abundance that our wisdom is confounded.
Peter and the others could not say they used their skill. They already knew they had done their best all night, when fishing was supposed to be productive. After being complete failures with their human skill and wisdom, they were spectacular successes with the Word of God.
This was necessarily a parallel to their future work as apostles. Their work was just as doomed as the day they were told to push out from shore and let down the net. Doubtless they reminded each other about this from time to time. They had more than one experience with a miraculous catch of fish and also with feeding the multitudes.
They did not catch fish or feed multitudes with their abilities - but because of the Word.
Whatever we accomplish is because of the Word. God’s work is exclusively through the Word.
How can someone’s sins be taken away completely? That is more miraculous than the catch of fish and the feeding of the multitudes.
How can Christ be present in both natures in these common elements of bread and wine? It is because they are consecrated by the Word. Some asked how this could be across the Internet. I have asked them, “If there is an overflow crowd in the basement or another room at a church, is the Word of God still effective in consecrating the elements?”
Similarly, people wondered in the past how they could have a church if they did not have an ordained pastor present. During the days of expansion, many pastors rode the circuit with laymen filling in for them in multiple parishes. In the same way the apostles appointed and trained pastors to take care of local congregations.
Now big old churches have multiple pastors who cannot even get out and visit their own members, they are so busy planning growth! And synods have hundreds of ordained pastors who would die before taking a call to serve a congregation, especially if they were expected to go out with nothing and start from scratch without that million dollars.
If we are to raise our families, there is a greater miracle than graduating from Parent Effectiveness classes – it is using the Word of God. Not many can be pastors, but every father can be the spiritual leader of his family. The Word of the Gospel, forgiveness and love, will work miracles that others have never seen or experienced. That is God’s plan, that people will honor and glorify His Name.