Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Trinity 7, 2022

 


The Seventh Sunday after Trinity, 2022

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Vimeo Player:

The Permanent Link is here, after the live service Vimeo.

The melodies are linked in the hymn title. 
The lyrics are linked from the Bethany Hymnal Blog.

The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
Introit
Oh, clap your hands, all ye people! 
Shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
Psalm. He shall subdue the people under us: 
and the nations under our feet.

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19

Collect
O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual       
Gradual
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: 
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
V. Look unto Him and be lightened: 
and let your faces not be ashamed. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
V. Oh, clap your hands, all ye people:
shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Hallelujah!


The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
           
Days Without Food - God Provides Miracles

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 #216          On Christ's Ascension                  


In Our Prayers
  • Alicia Meyer's birthday was July 27th. Happy Birthday and God's Blessings, Alicia.
  • Glen and Esther Kotten have returned from their honeymoon. Their wedding was blessed by three MDivs, in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.
  • Tests and treatment - Kermit Way, Pastor Jim Shrader, Callie and her parents, C.

Norma Boeckler's Christian Art Books

KJV Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Mark 8:1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Lord God, heavenly Father, who in the wilderness didst by Thy Son abundantly feed four thousand men besides women and children with seven loaves and a few small fishes: We beseech Thee, graciously abide among us with Thy blessing, and keep us from covetousness and the cares of this life, that we may seek first Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness, and in all things needful for body and soul, experience Thine ever-present help; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Days Without Food - God Provides Miracles

Introduction - Miracles and the Word

The two miracles of feeding are closely tied together with the Lord's Supper as miracles, so those who deny the Real Presence in Holy Communion - making it merely symbolic - are going to deny or alter the Feedings of the Four Thousand and Five Thousand - they are separate miracles. As Lenski says, the 4,000 is more about basic needs. The 5,000 is more about Jesus as the Bread of Life.

If the feedings are denied, then the divine nature of Christ is also rejected, sometimes later once the excuses are taught. He is a great teacher but not the Son of God in their minds.

I recall hearing, as a child, church adults say, "The days of miracles are over." That is a sign of rationalism among Christians. If human reason is the judge, there is nothing to support faith from studying and hearing God's Word. Why would miracles be gone? The angels - are they on strike? Is not Holy Communion the weekly miracle?

One Calvinist saying is that the Word is like an inert statue in the garden - that only points the way to Christ. That non-Biblical saying means the Word itself does not have the power to convert, to teach us forgiveness, to be a light to our paths.

Calvinists imagine that someone has to make the Scriptures real, relevant, appealing, germane. That attitude, with a trust in marketing, has ruined Protestantism today. People look for a mood or an exciting place - they are looking outside of the Word.  The Scripture is where all the power is. I respect congregations that can run all kinds of high-powered streams of video across the world, but what really matters is the unified Truth of the Scriptures. That should continue to make us thrilled.

Lenski, Gospel of Mark, p. 314.
The critics regard the two miracles by which multitudes were fed as one despite the differences in time, place, numbers fed, numbers of bread-cakes and of fishes and of baskets full left over. Matthew and Peter (Mark’s source) were present in person at both miracles and are reliable authorities. The inner difference between the two miracles is not discussed by the critics. The feeding of the 5,000 intends to reveal Jesus as the Bread of Life as John 6:26-65 show in extenso; the feeding of the 4,000 does not go beyond showing the care of Jesus for our bodily needs.

KJV Mark 8:1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 

The Gospel of Mark is long on events, especially the miracles, which explain the crowds of people following Jesus and also the antagonism of the Jewish leaders. As Jesus explained in the Gospel of John, the miracles were intended to show people His divine authority. If they did not believe His Word, at least trust in the miracles. Of course, the miracles themselves inspire faith because no one had that power just as no one had the power of His teaching and preaching.

Calling over the disciples meant Jesus already had a plan for the multitudes who had nothing to eat

2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

The crowds would have gathered initially carrying their food, but they ran out. Jesus knew this and expressed His emotional anguish for their hunger and their distance to their houses. Many had come a long distance and could not make the journey back, so great with their faith in Him, drawn to hear more and more of His wisdom and encouragement, but also His warnings if they did not repent and believe in Him.

Compassion - σπλαγχνιζομαι επι τον οχλον   - My guts ache for the crowd (Jackson Literal Translation). Harvard has just published about the strong relationship between our innards and our brains (expressed elsewhere in the New Testament).
What we think can upset our stomachs and digestion, and our internal organs can kidnap our brain.

Lenski, Mark, p. 315
The fact that Jesus is speaking of their physical needs is plain; note “fasting," “they will be completely unloosed” like a bowstring when it is unstrung, metaphorically, “they will become exhausted.” This would likely be the case especially in the case of some who had come from a great distance.

Jesus as the Teacher was offering a clear need that had to be addressed. The people must have food in a place where no food was available - or even possible.

4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

Descendents of the disciples have joined the building committees and finance committees of many congregations. Their message is clear and unanimous - "It cannot be done!"

They answered Jesus by saying it was impossible. There is a bit of humor in this, because they used their reason instead of their faith in the Son of God. 

Is this not true today? Quoting many small children when I asked them about Jesus' walking on water, turning water into wine, healing the sick and raising the dead, "Jesus is God. He can do anything."

But we look at our needs from a purely rational viewpoint. And we get anxious, confused, angry, and fearful - all powerful messages between our brains and guts. That is one of the wonderful things about marriage. One partner balances the other with sound advice, humor, and faith in Christ. Once an expert in England was driving Christina crazy over his database versus hers. This was an engineering firm in Columbus and in Britain. I said, "You are getting messages. They are just ink on paper. Messages should not anger you at all. He will find out that you have the better program - it came from my setup. British things often do not work well." Soon after they canned the broken British database and Chris had hers working smoothly." 

The bigger traumas in life were leaving the LCA, leaving WELS, and being removed from the CLC (sic) for hosting a pancake supper - not a joke. If those events were not enjoyable, they at least sent us along the way to Phoenix and Springdale. People in this congregation got the congregation going, adding video services and publishing. The bad events happened with God's guidance so that good came from it, impossible within a dictatorial apostate synod's structure.

Lenski, Mark, p. 316
The disciples remember the other miracle. Thus they are not again worried. They have learned that Jesus does not mean that they might possibly find a supply of bread somewhere. Yet they do not tell Jesus what he should do; they have learned to leave everything in his hands to act when and how may seem best to him. To say that the reply of the disciples betrays no knowledge of a previous miraculous feeding and nothing but complete perplexity is to misread not only this reply but also the word of Jesus that elicited the reply. 

5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

This increases the anxiety level - for the New Testament professors. They "know" that Jesus cannot feed the multitude with seven loaves, so they claim that the boy - by sharing his food makes everyone ashamed, so they take out their spare food and share it, satisfying everyone and leaving many baskets of leftovers.

The "miracle of sharing" is rather comical, because it assumes an enormous amount of food was hidden in the robes of the adults (the ones who did not share at first). The idea is too unpleasant to explore. 

The mythical interpretation is simpler. If a rationalist does not believe it, then it is a myth like the Greek and Roman myths, stories that teach a lesson.

The number of loaves distinguishes this miracle from the previous feeding of 4,000.

6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

The miracle of feeding the multitude is in harmony with the miracle of distributing the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ with the earthly elements. Both are merely symbolic or both are the effect of God's Word.

Here we see that the Logos - the Creator - has the power to multiply the loaves and fish. The Son of God takes the little things (in the eyes of the world) and makes miracles from them. We can and should pray for all our needs - "Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." But we should never order God to give according to time, manner, or amount. That is tempting God, and will never end well.

If you have faith that God hears and responds to the least of our anxieties, pray for yourself and others by name. God will respond and do more than we can imagine. I do not fall asleep until I have spoken aloud the cares of everyone in the congregation and beyond. 

The Lutheran Reformation emphasized the clarity, power, and efficacy of the Word, because the Spirit never works apart from the Word, and the Word never apart from the Spirit.

We are starting to distribute the KJV in various print sizes and also in Spanish. I gave a neighbor two super-sized KJVs, then six more, and now more on the way. I sent several to long-time members recently. It is good to have one that is the right sized for reading. It is such a pleasure to see the how much people value the Apostolic writings over the distorted Bible-business people, who bribe synod leaders and stores to use their third- rate paraphrases.

8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

The closing of this miracle reminds us that God not only provided food for everyone, but with such an abundance that they had baskets of bread leftover. It was not left there as garbage but taken back as food for the journey home (we can assume). 

Many people look upon believers as so few in number, so weak in their ability to throw their weight around, so insignificant. That is true, but God fills the faithful with an abundance of heavenly treasures and spiritual weapons. I heard from a severely handicapped person on Facebook today. She is hoping she can get to church. Her wishes are not always met with the ability. She values that connection. Brenda used to say, "Jesus Christ is all I have in the world." Brenda brushed aside the home she was offered because she knew an eternal home was not far away. She was correct.

When we feel we are alone in the desert, even with a crowd around us, and nothing seems to be right, the miracles are on their way. The Bible is known for many things, as it should be, as God's only book. One of the greatest aspects of the Scriptures are their power to comfort and encourage us. 

Those pilgrims starved for the Word and found themselves in the desert with only water to drink. Jesus gave them all they needed and more, so people mock that today. Jesus described the miraculous feedings in one sentence - "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (the righteousness of faith) for they shall be satisfied." Sermon on the Mount. Those who do not believe think it is the righteousness of works, so they dedicate libraries and chapels in their own names (a swan song if I ever heard it). 

But this is the righteousness of faith, to honor God by receiving earthly food when needed and the heavenly food of Holy Communion, which is always powerful in giving us the physical act of receiving God's grace and forgiveness through Christ.



Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Trinity 6 2022

 The Sixth Sunday after Trinity, 2022


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Vimeo Player is here:


This Will Be the Permanent Link to the Service





The melodies are linked in the hymn title. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16

Introit
The Lord is the Strength of His people: 
He is the saving Strength of His anointed.
Save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance: 
feed them also and lift them up forever.
Psalm. Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord, my Rock; be not silent unto me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19

Collect
Lord of all power and might, who art the Author and Giver of all good things, graft in our hearts the love of Thy name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual   

Gradual
He shall call to the heavens from above: 
and to the earth that He may judge His people.
V. The heavens shall declare His righteousness: 
for God is Judge Himself. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
V. The ransomed of the Lord shall come to Zion with everlasting joy upon their lands: 
they shall obtain joy and gladness, 
and sorrow and weeping shall fly away.
 Hallelujah!
   
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #294             O Word of God Incarnate                     

The Righteousness of the Pharisees


The Communion Hymn # 387:1-5             Dear Christians                   
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



In Our Prayers
  • Maria Ellenberger Way and Kermit Way. Pastor Jim Shrader and Chris Shrader. Callie and both her parents, C. and many who need strength, healing, and peace.
  • May God Bless the Marriage of Glen Kotten and Esther Estrada in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.
  • More KJV books and King James Bibles have been given free to various people who needed them. Members and non-members who want either one - or both - email me at greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com
  • Christina Jackson's birthday is July 20th.
                                    


Sixth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we confess that we are poor, wretched sinners, and that there is no good in us, our hearts, flesh and blood being so corrupted by sin, that we never in this life can be without sinful lust and concupiscence; therefore we beseech Thee, dear Father, forgive us these sins, and let Thy Holy Spirit so cleanse our hearts that we may desire and love Thy word, abide by it, and thus by Thy grace be forever saved; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.


The Righteousness of the Pharisees


KJV Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

There are two ways to understand this verse, but only one is correct. 
1. The wrong way - Someone can jump to the conclusion that the Pharisees were the ultimate in righteousness and that Jesus' followers had to be even more righteous.
2. The right way - ironic and more pointed. The Pharisees, in depending on works of the Law, had no genuine righteousness, so anyone who believed in Jesus definitely exceeded the works-righteousness of the Pharisees. The righteousness of faith in the Savior is key to this passage.

Background - Unity of the One Book of the Holy Spirit

The so-called scholarly world has tried to pit one passage of the Bible against another, leaving people in as much confusion as the professors have. Note that the most important Gospel - for clarifying the entire message - is the Gospel of John, which most of the modernists dismiss as coming from other sources and 300 years after Christ. That would make the Fourth Gospel a series of deceptions. The truth is that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have a remarkable harmony and unity, because the working force behind each one - and them all - is the Holy Spirit.

That applies to the entire Bible - as the foundation. The Scriptures are that unified Truth. Luther knew Medieval dogma well, but he did not start with that, but only illustrated it to show how wrong the Pope was. Luther could see how all the Biblical books and verses fit together - and support each other - with one goal from God for us - to teach us faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Good Shepherd.

Dogma books are not a good foundation, no matter how good they are, because dogma tries to make a system out of a unity already present. Why not show that unity by comparing verses rather than current or past authors?

A book confessing the Faith is not at all the same as dogmatics books. The Book of Concord confesses the truth of the Scriptures and is really a one-volume book about the Bible.

Organizations make a poor foundation, because they establish norms and those rules become their bible, their origin, their incontestable law. Willow Creek in Chicago (where we went and heard Hybels speak on these verses) was monstrously big and yet opposed to showing the cross anywhere. Hybels and the entire staff had to quit and admit their very serious sins, paying out millions in damages. The Church of Rome has been paying out millions and will continue to do the same, because an organization corrupts itself away from Christianity by jettisoning faith in Christ in favor of power for themselves.

There are many ways to appreciate Matthew 5:20 because the righteousness of the Pharisees is in the basement. That turns on the point Paul taught in short form in Galatians and very thoroughly in Romans.

Using the phrasing above, that means being declared righteous only by faith in Jesus. 

Justify is not a difficult word, and we use it all the time in the same sense. "How dare you justify what you have done?" That is making oneself righteous, free of sin, by declaring that to be true. 

Or when excuses are made, "Don't justify yourself!" 

I cannot tell how many books and articles I have read where they have ignored the plain meaning of this word - and this phrase - used so often - Justification by Faith.

Romans 4 is so clear and plain that synod presidents should have it tattooed on their backs so they never see it, since they reject and defame the Chief Article.

The solution is simple - either
1. We are justified by works of various types, which make us righteous (building chapels, paying for dorms, enlarging libraries). OR
2. We are declared innocent because of the innocence of Jesus Christ, who took on our sins and rose from the dead to show He had conquered sin, death, and the devil on the cross.

Because of time constraints, I am going to explain this rather than writing it out, as I intended originally. (Get me to the church on time.)

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Trinity 5, 2022. Luke 5.

  


The Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2021

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Vimeo Player:


Permanent Link



The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.


The Hymn #530 Thy Ways O Lord
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16

The Introit

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: 

Thou hast been my Help.

Leave me not, neither forsake me: 

O God of my salvation.

Psalm. The Lord is my Light and my Salvation: whom shall I fear?

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19

Collect

O God, who hast prepared for them that love Thee such good things as pass man’s understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward Thee that we, loving Thee above all things, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual   

Gradual

Behold, O God, our Shield: and look upon Thy servants.

V. O Lord God of hosts: hear our prayer. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

V. The king shall joy in Thy strength: and in Thy salvation, how greatly shall he rejoice! Hallelujah!

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


The Greatest Miracle

The Communion Hymn #530      Thy Ways, O Lord
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 #52          Almighty Father, Bless the Word


Prayers and Announcements
  • Esther Estrada lands in America on July 20th. Glen Kotten and Esther will marry on July 23rd.
  • Christina Jackson's birthday is July 20th.
  • In our prayers - Kermit and Maria Way, Christina's brother-in-law. Pastor Jim Shrader and his wife. Pastor K.
  • Next Sunday's service will be posted on the blog and linked in the left column.
  • Ask for your free copy of the KJV book; send the address and phone number. Amazon insists. Extra copies for others - ask for them too.
 By Norma A. Boeckler


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 net6 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.

 Norma A. Boecker - The Draught of Fish

The Greatest Miracle

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, [Sea of Galilee]

Introductory Background

This miracle depends on whether we believe in the Word of God, revealed in the Scriptures, or reject them based on human reason. In Judaism, where so many are expected to know Hebrew, there is no difference between God's Word and God's will. That was associated with the rabbis as well, as spokesmen for God's Word. 

Human reason cannot comprehend how miracles take place, and people often brag about their lack of trust in God doing anything. 

One source of rationalism is the Masonic Lodge and versions of that group. They treat all religions as the same and forbid praying in the Name of Jesus. That works well because it seems to be so tolerant and peaceful, but all forms of unionism (divergent confessions worshiping and praying together) lead to rationalism and atheism.

Another source of rationalism is Pietism, or Masonry Lite. The foundation of Spener's Pietism is downplaying Biblical doctrine and creating unity based on works, not faith. Halle University was founded to teach Pietism. Bypassing doctrinal clarity and agreement, Halle quickly became the mother ship of Biblical rationalism. Their Biblical professors are considered today - the greatest and bravest of Bible scholars because they published their books (sometimes anonymously) questioning the truth of the Scriptures.

The Lutheran Church in America's Fortress Press published a series of "scholarly" books based on those early days at Halle University where the scholars used their positions to question and attack the Scriptures.

The Tower of Babel style of modern translations (including the Beck Bible) stems from Wescott and Hort secretly giving their Greek New Testament to the KJV revision scholars in Britain and America, 10 years before their new Bible came out. The scholars were not dumb sheep, but wolves who largely agreed with Westcott and Hort, and those ridiculous theories have been rejected since then. This all comes down to the fraudulent Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus used to displace 5,000 individual examples of the Majority or Byzantine text.

This rationalistic attitude toward the revealed Word of God means that each individual has his own view of what is acceptable in the Bible. Once they got away with erasing verses from the New Testament (more often than most people imagine), they made the Word of God little more than a rabbit's foot, good luck and all that.

As many realize, this attitude spreads easily because it is individualistic, personal, and subjective. But the superior attitude also spreads easily among entire generations. As I have pointed out to some, more than once, it only takes a few changes in the oversight board for a school to start changing faculty members. Methodists said about one of their own who denied the Virgin Birth - "Oh, we can afford ONE professor like that." One became ALL in short order.

Likewise, the Lutheran synods were infected with Calvinism first, then with the marketing genius of the ever-shrinking Fuller Seminary. Justification without Faith (Objective Justification) served well as the door opener for Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Bultmann, and other rascals. Fuller blew the doors off by starting with the denominational leaders, who are never very bright and seldom serious about Bible doctrine. Slogans are easier to peddle.

I have identified seven (7) "conservative" Lutherans who earned  Jesuit PhDs. Has that happened without effect?

Therefore, this miracle is so clear than only believers can grasp its meaning. For the rest, it is spiritual blindness and hardening of the heart.



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,

For Jesus to speak to a large crowd, He had to overcome the sound absorbing numbers. The remedy is either to put the speaker high up (Sermon on the Mount) with people at a lower level, or this example, Jesus in a boat with the sound reflected off the lake and people sitting on the ground rising above the water (risers!).

2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

We should always remember that Jesus chose humble workers to be Apostles, not high priests in glorious robes, chanting for the incense and the admiration of the onlookers. These fishermen were the instrument of God's grace, drawn in to listen, learn, and teach the Gospel.

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.

Knowing Simon Peter's heart, Jesus stepped into that boat and asked to be taken away from the shore. From the boat, Jesus could resume the rabbi's position, sitting while He taught, as He did at the Sermon on the Mount. One part of this description is practical, but the other part takes us there, with the voice of Jesus using the Sea of Galilee as the soundboard He created at the very beginning. 

He preached the nature of sin and His role as the promised Messiah. We know that from the reaction of Simon.

4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 

After the sermon, Jesus commanded Simon to move the boat out into the deep, where it would be harder to find the fish which eluded the fishermen all night long. Jesus did not give this command as a stranger but as the Lord of Simon, who was converted by the revelation - He is the Messiah, the King of Kings!

"Let down your nets for a catch of fish!" I have had almost 50 years of hearing marketing and sociology - "A good place for a new church, this suburb is already Lutheran and it is full of affluent young couples with children." Or - and this is both funny and sad - "Lutherans won't go to a church like this, which is hidden away down a minor street. But we can sell your church to Pentecostals. No matter where they have a church, the Pentecostals will come." Shortly after, my friend's church was closed and sold to Pentecostals.

The Gospel does not throw out the nets for the individual trophy fish, but for all, great and small, sinners and other sinners, strong and weak physically, fragile young and elderly. Is it not a marvel that Jesus gave the perfect description of Gospel conversion and the genius "Evangelism and Church Growth" commissions follow the marketing expertise of Tide detergent and McDonalds fries?

The Gospel Word is always effective, so when we hear, read, or remember it, the Spirit tugs at us, revives our faith and trust in God, and opens for us the eternal treasures which last forever even though despised by so many.

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.

This response combines the exasperation of a professional fisherman with the humility of a believer. "We spent our lives catching fish and spent all night trying. There are no fish. The nets are empty! But - your Word moves me to let down the net,"

Simon heard the sermon of Jesus - faith comes by hearing the Report (Romans 10). Faith in God changes our perspective from purely human to God-inspired.

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.

To make this miracle certain and proof of the divinity of Jesus, the catch was far greater than anyone could wish. The boats were designed to be stable in carrying these loads, and the nets were strong and just repaired to be reliable. Nevertheless, both ships began to sink from the miraculous catch.

This is the nature of a miracle:

a. The miracle is from God and not something man could do, often it is just the opposite of what we think with the best of our knowledge and experience.

b. The miracle is not simply abundant, but overwhelmingly abundant, so people do not say, "Look at how I deserved this!" but instead "Only God could do this." And that includes the work of His Holy Angels, who clearly protect small children and foolish adults.

c. The miracle is intended to awaken us to the power and mercy of God, so we spend our lives thanking and praising God for Jesus Christ who accepted mockery, torture, and death to give us the ultimate miracle - eternal life.

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: 

First Jesus converted Peter through preaching the Gospel, what the Messiah is and will be. Secondly, beyond all doubts, Jesus showed the entire audience, but especially Peter and his companions, His power over His own Creation. So great is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that we can only be in awe. As one collect (prayer) says - God's power is made known chiefly in His mercy.

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.

One moment, they were hungry and worn out, despairing for the lack of food. Next they were wealthy fish-mongers, but they turned away from their vocation when Jesus said, "From now on you will be gathering men through the Gospel - do not be afraid."

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

The miracles revealed by Jesus Christ were an essential part of His preaching, as stated in the Gospel of John. The Savior also gave that power to the Apostles, who were witnesses of Jesus' miracles and also worked miracles.

The age of miracles did not stop with the Apostles, because God's power is always at hand - to save, to heal, to lift us up from despair. The greatest miracle of all is His forgiveness of sins for all contrite believers. We cannot overcome even the smallest of sins, and yet He has died for those sins and the great and terrible sins as well. To question His forgiveness is to deny His mercy and love. He is our great Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. He leads us out, so we can follow Him to His heavenly palace. That is the greatest miracle of all.