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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works asgregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fifth Sunday after Trinity.
Luke 5:1ff. Miraculous Catch




The Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #  375     If Thy Beloved Son              3.41
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
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       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 649            Jesus Savior Pilot Me                   3.80               

Power of the Word – Seen and Unseen

The Communion Hymn #307            Draw Nigh                            3.72  
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 #  50        Lord Dismiss Us (Reuter)                      3.34

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.



The Power of the Word – Seen and Unseen


The skeptics and scoffers have a fine way of arguing their points. To find the same elegant style, read the blog from Fox Valley, WELS.
When the blind unbelievers look at the Bible, they are grieved and shocked, sharing their dismay with everyone. Many hold onto academic positions just so they can keep people from believing a word of the Bible.

For instance, if a story is found only once in the Bible, they do not believe for that reason. If it is found twice, they pick apart differences and deny the truth of both. If all the sources go into the same topic with great detail (as in the resurrection of Christ), they decide this must have been invented later. They want more proof, and when that proof is obviously in front of them, they make fun of the proof. Naturally, they have their own self-feeding sources, which show how correct they are.

Some examples from the Bible – the historical facts that can be discovered (since most of history is buried) are all in harmony with the Bible. The manuscripts of the Bible are better preserved than all other ancient manuscripts – and they are much older. Luke, the Gospel author for today, has been found to be especially carefully about the most trivial facts, which suggests that he also got the main story correct to the same degree of perfection.

Examples from Lutheran doctrine are just as infuriating for the poorly educated WELS clergy in Fox Valley. They confuse the atonement with justification by faith and declare themselves great experts in the Bible. They ignore dozens of justification by faith passages from all the Concordists – and Luther – so they can quote an atonement passage from Luther and declare their case won. As proven plagiarists (Bethany, Appleton and St.PeterCares/CORE in Freedom) they shout liar! between quaffs of beer.

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,

This miracle is important for two main reasons:
  1. The narrative demonstrates the power of the Word in visible and invisible ways.
  2. This miracle shows why the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus by the lake was so potent for the disciples – and especially for Peter.

This is not another version of the miraculous catch miracle:

Lenski –
1) The view that Luke 5:1–11 merely retells Matt. 4:18–22 and Mark 1:16–20 and only embellishes the story by an unhistorical miracle is answered by the simple observation that Luke relates one occurrence and Matthew and Mark another and plainly an earlier one. To say that Luke is describing in his own way what Matthew and Mark describe in theirs (R., W. P.) ignores the decisive differences. Where is the multitude pressing upon Jesus in Matthew and in Mark? It is absent, Jesus is walking alone. In Luke the men are out of the boats, washing their nets; in Matthew and in Mark they are in their boats, two men hard at it fishing with a throwing net and two sitting mending their nets. In Luke’s account Jesus preaches from one of the boats, in Matthew’s and in Mark’s there is not even an audience to preach to. And so the accounts diverge in the widest way. The claim that the disciples could not twice forsake everything fails to state why this could not be done.
The events differ even in their content and their purpose. In Matthew and in Mark the four disciples receive a formal call to enter the preparation for being made fishers of men; in Luke, where Simon is the person dealt with, he is treated as one who has already been called and is assured that he will, indeed, catch men with the success shown to him in the great catch of fish when he obeyed Jesus’ word. This is the purpose of the miracle: an ocular demonstration of the unseen power and success of the Word. This miracle was therefore repeated after Jesus’ resurrection (John 21:1–14), and the repetition cannot be understood in its import without this miracle which is recorded in Luke’s Gospel. It was one thing to call the four apostles, it was quite another thing to demonstrate to them the power of the gospel they were to handle as fishers of men. And this demonstration was so necessary in view of the Jewish and the pagan world they were to conquer that Jesus repeated it for them before he ascended to heaven.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 276

This miracle teaches us the great harmony of the various human authors of the Bible, because the main author is the Holy Spirit. Read this miracle and John’s post-resurrection story –

KJV John 21:1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. [GJ – Just like Luke 5.]

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals [GJ - Peter’s threefold denial before a charcoal fire] there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. 15 So when they had dined, [GJ – Threefold absolution of Peter] Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Anamnesis is the term for teaching by recalling the memory of an event. This method is basic to the liturgy, which is why the scoffers get rid of the liturgy or “blend” it away with their sappy “blended” liturgies.

What is the Passover but teaching by re-enacting the event? A traditional Passover includes standing at the table, to be ready to run from the Egyptians, and every part of the meal is connected to the Exodus itself.

What is Holy Communion but an re-enactment of the Last Supper, to teach the meaning of that unique event? The power of Holy Communion is in the Word consecrating  the elements [visible miracle of the Word] and the recollection of Jesus’ atoning death for our sins [invisible Word].

Queen Elizabeth mustered her sailors before the Spanish Armada’s invasion, invoking the memory of her father, Henry VIII. She was just a woman, she said, but she had “the heart and stomach of a king.” The sailors fought with Henry VIII in mind and preserved Protestantism for a land called North America.

Henry V, in Shakespeare’s (Oxford’s) play, motivated his soldiers before St. Crispin’s by telling them they would always have this memory, of the day they fought for their country, that others would be rue the day they were not there to join the battle.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he'll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

With this in mind, let’s look at the trivial details of the miracle, which mean so much with close reading.



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,

“It came to pass” is used to introduce great events. The crowd was pressing upon Jesus because they wanted to hear the Word of God. That can be compared to people being famished for food. They had been taught about the perfection of the Pharisees and the demands of the Law, but not about the Gospel promises (except for what they heard from the Old Testament readings).
They were famished for forgiveness; Jesus’ gracious and welcoming presence made they long to hear Him and be near Him.

This simple opening makes the next part clear. Talking to a crowd of people in this situation may work for the first few rows, but not for the whole crowd. The sound would be absorbed and erased by the clothing and the general mumbling and moving about. Speakers look for an elevated platform (Sermon on the Mount) or ascending rows (Greek amphitheater).

In a lake setting, the rising shore defeated speaking to a large group, unless…

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.

Jesus entered Simon Peter’s boat and asked him to cast away from the land, to give Him the sounding board of the lake. European pulpits have curved wood behind them, to direct the sound into the congregation. The lake had a similar effect, directing the sound into the large crowd on the shore, perhaps very much like a Greek amphitheater. My Greek professor visited an ancient amphitheater, carved into the rock in Greece. From the top of row he could hear the slightest sound his wife made.

The people were hungry for His Word, and Jesus taught them from the boat, which was large and stable, designed for fishing in the rough waters of that large lake.

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.

It is important to remember that this is the Simon Peter who has heard Jesus teaching the Word. The power of that Word is evident in Peter’s response, because the directions are wrong for two reasons. The best time to fish is at night, and the best depth is moderate – not the deep. This trivial details matter a lot. Peter and his associates were professional fishermen. They lived on fishing. The crowd along the shore was also populated with fishermen.

Peter and associates had already fished all night and taken nothing. Human reason told Peter – “There are no fish today, certainly not in the light, in the deep,” but the believer said “Master” and “At they Word, I will…”

The first effect of the Word is invisible. Peter’s emerging faith moves him to receive the Promise from Christ.

Faith is the opposite fear, contrary to human reason and experience. A fearful Peter would have thought, “They will all laugh at me for casting out into the deep on a sunny day, a double error.”

Likewise, today Lutherans will say, “We have to have our synod, our mission subsidies, our land, our benefits. It would be shameful to go out into the deep and have them laugh at us for meeting at the Granger Hall instead of training at Granger Community Church in Indiana.” (That’s a pun for this who know about these cats - http://www.gccwired.com/whoweare

Like all temporary and convenient disciples, these Lutherans will not “leave all and follow Him” because their bellies and comforts come first.
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.

At the beginning of this story, they were washing their nets, so they were doubtless mending them at the same time. Their boats were not ordinary rowboats like ours or canoes, but very stable and strong fishing boats. Nevertheless, the net began to split open. Their partners had to help them, and yet both boats were so full that they began to skin.

As Luther observed, God let them labor all night and catch nothing, so they would realize where their food came from. Man’s greatest worries concern material things, but God provides those things to believers and unbelievers alike.

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:

Peter saw that the invisible power of the Word also show itself in visible ways.
The divine power he trusted in the first place was guaranteed in the second, and that overwhelmed him.

Face to face with God, we realize how frail and weak we are. All Peter could experience at this moment was his unworthiness. Doubtless he felt that again when the risen Lord spoke to him beside the charcoal fire. Previously, Peter had denied Jesus three times. By the lake again, John 21, in the same setting where he was called to be a disciple, Peter received comfort, assurance, and forgiveness with the three-fold absolution and charge – Care for My lambs, feed my sheep, feed my sheep.

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.

The lesson about merely catching fish was upgraded to a lesson about their future ministry as apostles. “Do not be afraid. You will be catching men the same way.”

Applying the Gospel Lesson

The first part is practical and especially worthwhile in these times, essentially a world-wide financial panic. They were called Panics in the past. That was a negative term, so it became the Depression. That had baggage, so each Depression was called a Recession instead. Now the Panic is called a Recovery.

Luther taught and practiced the concept of God providing for all our materials needs. He could have established his own family fortune by charging for his books. Instead, his published established a publishing empire with Luther’s writings.

Luther said about this sermon text –

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.

The Promise is especially true for believers, who can see the worst reprobates still get along – some of them enjoying great wealth. God gives enough to believers to have and to share.

No pastor or congregation should debate about the monetary advantages of dong what is right according to the Word. To do so means to distrust the power of God’s Word while trusting in the power of money.

If money had so much power for the good, the richest congregations and denominations would be the most faithful. But that is demonstrably wrong. Vast endowments make them more worried than ever about more money. They shrink from doing what is right, based on money, then descend into radicalism because the money has been built up and they cannot be touched. All the decisions at the national level today are purely money decisions.

Trusting in these greed apostates is the same as saying, “I know God’s Word has promised to care for our needs, but I have to be sure on my own.”

Some are not bothered by money concerns, but they fret over being shunned by their family and friends. The new show on the National Geographic channel, on the Hutturites, show how powerful that shunning is. Lutherans practice it all the times, from ELCA on down to the CLC (sic). The shunning is not based on faithfulness to the Word, but fidelity to the organization. Worst of all, fidelity to the organization is equated with fidelity to God’s Word.

The Spiritual Meaning of the Net
The net enclosing the fish is the Gospel call. God urges us to cast the net into the deep, in spite of our reason and experience.

The catch is so great that we have to acknowledge the power of God’s Word. I hear from all over that people appreciate the lessons taught here and in the published books supported by the members.

Often I cannot say exactly how that is affecting others who are in contact with me. That is how dangerous sound Lutheran doctrine is today – among the “conservative” Lutherans.

We can never estimate the eventual influence of the Word emanating from any faithful individual. It is just like the rock tossed into the pond, the waves going out and being impeded and blocked, yet moving on. I could name a layman or two who were the ones getting Thy Strong Word started and finished, simply because they wanted UOJ addressed. Their patience and persistence created a 640 page book being used today in various places. From that has come many other events, influences, and negative reactions (no one would review it – positive comments were censored and not published).

The only place I can quote Luther and get 100% appreciation is among the non-Lutherans. I have experiences too numerous to list where I have been chewed out by “conservative” Lutherans simply for quoting Luther. That proves what a threat the Reformer is to nominal Lutherans (who are really Pietists).

The tearing net reminds us that some escape, even though they are caught at first. Those are the believers, great and small, who are converted by Word, perhaps, as infants, and later swim away into the freedom of non-belief.

God provides the net, the Gospel Promises, so that everyone has the opportunity to hear and receive what is freely offered in so many ways.

Not trusting in God’s complete forgiveness is the same as not trusting in Jesus command – cast off into the deep.

Not trusting in God’s forgiveness through Christ means trusting in human reason, experience, and emotions.

Yes, we still feel regret, remorse – the original meaning of metanoia (repent). But the Gospel is repent and believe in the atoning death of Christ, not – be sorry enough to deserve forgiveness, not wait until the feeling of forgiveness arrives. Metanoia does NOT mean “change your ways” in the Bible or anywhere else. That is a Pelagian filter on the Bible, trusting in works. That is to say, “If you never drink alcohol again, you are forgiven.” That must mean 5 seconds before dying, because “never” does not work until that moment. That is a burden, to avoid one sin and engage in a worse one – denying God’s mercy and forgiveness while embracing man’s supposed will to be perfect.

When we say, “Yes, I believe God’s Word is completely true and trustworthy,” we are saying, “And that including forgiving the my sin and the sins of all believers, each and every day, from the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel.




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