February 10 – Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Read Luke 5:1 – 11
Grace and peace to you as you let God work in your life, from God, our Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
During the Epiphany season, we are striving to grown in our understanding of what Jesus came into this world to do for us and how He is working in our lives today. So, what have we learned over the past 5 weeks of Epiphany? By Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus we have learned that #1 – Jesus came into this world to prepare us for the coming of God. At the end of our time here in this world God will come to take us to where we belong. If we have let God work in our lives and come to believe in all that God has done for us, then God will take our souls to the heavenly place He has prepared for us and there we will rest until the end of time when our bodies will be reunited with our souls to enjoy the perfect love, peace and joy of God for eternity. That’s the reason God sent Jesus into this world for us and that is the reason why Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to work in our lives through His Word and Sacraments to get us ready for that day.
#2 – Jesus came into this world to defeat the devil and the sin of this world by His Words and Actions. After Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness for 40 days and nights and the devil came to tempt Jesus to sin like us. Jesus defeated each of the devil’s temptations by God’s Words and His actions to give each of us an example of how to defeat the devil when he tempts us in our life so that we wouldn’t fall into traps of the devil that have destroyed the love, peace and joy that God wants to give to us.
#3 – Jesus came into this world to accomplish all that God had promised He would do for us. Two weeks ago, we heard about how Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth and was given the chance to read God’s Word and teach the people of Nazareth why He had come into this world. After reading God’s Word Jesus taught the people and they were amazed at His teaching because He taught with authority and wisdom. But when Jesus pointed to the Words of God and His actions as proof that He was the fulfillment of all of God’s promises the people of Nazareth rejected Him and tried to kill Him. Jesus amazingly walk right through the angry crowd that wanted to kill him and departed from them.
#4 – Jesus came into this world to teach us about God’s Love through His Words. In the past two week and again today the evangelist Luke has told us how Jesus came to the people and taught them about God’s love in a way that amazed them. They did not understand the love of God for them because the sinfulness of the world had corrupted their understanding of God’s love. Jesus in His teach showed the people of His time how God from the beginning of time has always loved us and has been working in our live to bring us back to Him and His love for each of us so that we can have the love, peace and joy of being with Him always.
#5 – Jesus came into this world to show us God’s love by His Actions. Last week as we heard about Jesus in Capernaum we heard about the amazement of the people as Jesus taught them about God’s Love through His Words. The people were also amazed as He showed them God’s love by casting out demons from the lives of the people and healing them of their ailments. The miracles that Jesus performed among the people strengthened their acceptance of His Word and showed them by His Actions God’s love for them.
That brings us to our reading from the Gospel of Luke for today where it says, “On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on Jesus 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.” (Lk 5:1-2) When we left Jesus last week He had gone out to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God and the Good News of God’s love for all the people in the region of Judea and that’s where we find Him in our reading for today. The problem is the same problem we have at times our church. Though we have come to hear and learn from God’s Word we can’t hear it because the crowd noise is distracting us or we are just having a hard timing hearing the Words of God being spoken for various other reasons. Jesus knew the solution to the problem that day. He needed to be just a little ways out into the lake so that the people would be close enough to hear him and yet far enough away to allow his voice to be heard by all the people. So, we are told, “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.” (Lk 5:3)
Throughout the Bible there are references to the Church as being the boat that saves us like Noah’s Ark or gives us the way of receiving God’s Word and Sacrament like what Jesus is using Simon Peter’s boat in this situation. God’s Church is the boat that saves us from our sins because it brings to us and the world the saving Words and Actions of God’s Love for us. As we come into God’s Church to receive God’s Words and Actions we let the Holy Spirit go to work in our lives and we come to the knowledge of God’s love for us and how through the life, death and resurrection of His only Son He has accomplished our salvation.
Jesus taught this Good News to the people of His time and we are told, “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.” (Lk 5:4-7)
What do you do with the Words of God given to you today? That’s the challenge that Jesus challenged Simon Peter with on that day after listening to His Words. Apostle Simon Peter knew what had happen to them all night long while they were fishing and also knew that the deep waters weren’t where the fish were usually at this time of day. Still He had seen the result of God’s Word in his life and in the life of others, yet Jesus is asking him to take a step of faith. Peter may have even though in his mind, “What harm will it be to let down the nets even if we don’t catch anything.’
What’s the challenge that God is challenging your faith with. Is it just a little inconvenience that really would matter if something becomes of it or not or is it more than that? As you receive God’s Word and come to know the actions of God in your life and in the life of others you to will be challenged to put our faith into actions, for it is in the words and actions of your life that you show your faith to the world and strengthen your faith to grow even more. Who knows maybe the miracle that God works in your life will be far more that you could ever had hoped for and you will come to confess with Simon Peter your confession from your heart. “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.” (Lk 5:8 – 10a)
#6 – Jesus Came into this world to give us the absolute forgiveness of all our sins. Each time that we come to see our need to confess to God that we are sinners and don’t deserve the Love, Grace and Mercy that God is giving to us daily through His Words and Actions. We need the assurance that God’s love, grace and mercy are still ours even when we come to realize our sinfulness. Oh, our words and actions only make us deserving of God’s wrath but God’s Love, grace and mercy for us are beyond our understanding, that’s why we call it grace, God’s Riches At Christ Expense. Confession that’s what we begin our time here in worship doing and then we receive the absolution of God’s forgiveness, because of His love, grace and mercy for us. Simon Peter received that Absolution in Jesus’ Words to him and more, listen to what Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (Lk. 5:10b)
Jesus says these same Words to us as we come to realize our lack of trust and faith in God’s Word and Actions. “Do not be afraid.” For God’s love for us has taken care of our lack of faith and trust in Him by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our place. But there is even more to Jesus’ Words. Notice that Jesus also says in plain English, “From now on you will be catching men.” What does that mean? Here is where translating from one language to another can lose some of the original meaning of what Jesus is says to us. Jesus’ words were recorded for us in the Greek language and if you were to make a direct translation of Jesus’ words into English you would get this, “Fear not, from now on men and women you will catch ALIVE.” Now this sentence doesn’t make good grammatical sense because it’s using Greek grammar not English. Yet when you take this direct translation with the rest of what Jesus did in His life and the life of the disciple of Jesus, you discover that Jesus is tell us what we are going to be doing through our words and actions as we share God’s Good News with others. God is going to enable us to catch people in our world before God come to take them from this life and to share with them the life that God is giving to us instead of the death that we deserve because of our rejection of Him, shown by our sins.
That brings us to #7 – Jesus Came into this world to send us out to proclaim the Good News. We hear from the words of the evangelist Luke, “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” (Lk. 5:11)
God sent Jesus into this world to accomplish a lot of things for us and He accomplished each and every one them for us and is now sitting at the right hand of God as our advocate where He sends the Holy Spirit into our lives through His Word and Actions to enable us to Confess that we are sinners and need a Savior to redeem us from our sin. As we confess our condition in this world God give us the ability to receive the Absolution that all our sins are taken from us and that we are given God’s love, grace and mercy now and forever. With the knowledge of our sinfulness and God’s love, grace and mercy we are sent into the world to accomplish our mission to share the Good News of God’s Love, Peace and Joy with all the world so that they too will confess their sins and receive the Absolution of God’s love, grace and mercy given to them now and forever more.
Did you ever have one of those day when you wondered what was your purpose in this world? Through God’s Word we are told that God brings us into this world to Confess our sinfulness and unworthiness of God’s Love, to receive the absolution of God’s love, grace and mercy for us and to go on the mission of sharing the Good News of God’s Love, peace and joy with all the world. Let God go to work in your lives so that you will Confess your sins, receive God’s Absolution and let God guide you on your mission to the people you are living with in this world to share the Good News of God’s love, grace and mercy with them. Amen.