Fifth Sunday after Holy Trinity
July 16, 2017
Texts: 1Kings 19:11-21 Call of Elisha; 1Peter 3:8-15 Prepare to Make a Defense;
Luke 5:1-10 Miraculous Catch of Fish; Hymn 688 Come Follow Me The Savior Spake
Sermon Title: Watch This - God’s Word is Physically and Spiritually Effective
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Amen)
It is written: 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, (Jesus) asked (Simon) to put out a little from the land. And (Jesus) sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4And when (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.” 6And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. - Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, Your Son does what He says and gives what He promises. This morning, Jesus speaks and Simon catches fish. He also speaks and the bad and the good eat breakfast. Continue to give us all things that we need. Bless us physical goods, spiritual goods and do the same for our enemies and loved ones; in the name of Jesus (Amen).
One of the blessings of being a part of this congregation is simply to notice all of your skills and talents. Businessmen. Businesswomen. Farmers. Teachers. Teacher Assistants. Engineers. Real estate agents. Civil servants. Accountants. Doctors. Dental Assistants. Bankers. Banker Assistants. Rumor has it that there is a pastor in this congregation, too. Others say you are only “employees” and yet even you are group leaders or supervisors or doing more than punching a clock and looking forward to your next break. All these blessings not even mentioning how much you volunteer your time to organizations and boards throughout Muscatine. Or how you work so hard to love and care for your spouse, children, parents, and relatives.
It is a joy to see experts do their job so well and quickly, too. My wife just received some computer help. The questions that took her a few hours for no solution was solved by the tech guy almost by the time she finished asking her question. It is a blessing to live in a congregation and city that is both kind and talented.
Which brings me to Jesus. He is part of this congregation and this city as well. All good gifts come from the Father of lights - through Jesus Christ. Jesus is given all authority in His Father’s physical and spiritual creation. Jesus causes the rain to fall on the fields of the evil farmer and well as the good farmer. Jesus calls evil men and women to repentance and faith and even places them in Christian congregations.
But here is the problem. Our eyes cannot see nor confirm Jesus’ hard work among us.
I can spy with my little eye the coffee in my coffee cup. What I cannot see is the effect of God’s Word spoken on Day 3 of Creation when God said, “ And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day (Genesis 1:11-13). I have not seen the farmer, the cocoa plant, the coffee beans shipped to factory, the packaging machines, the shipping trucks that brought the coffee to Muscatine. But since God said, “Let the earth bring this forth” I may drink a cup of coffee. God’s Word is effective.
I can spy with my little eye my wife sitting across the kitchen table from me and our four children active throughout the parsonage. Although I see them, what I cannot see is God bringing us together and providing for us. I did not see God speak on Day 6 of Creation when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: ...27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). My eye did not see God working this in my life or in my family. But since God said, “Let us bring forth male and female” I believe that He created me and Angie and our children. He even provided us a parsonage in which we live together. I can see your generosity. I can see my family. And, although I cannot see God, I can see that God’s Word is effective.
This is why Peter’s catch of fish is so comforting to Christians. This is God giving a physical blessing to Peter. Jesus speaks a school of fish into Peter’s net. People witnessed this miracle (Luke 1:2). St. Luke, serving as the Holy Spirit’s secretary, researched and recorded this catch of fish so that “you may know with certainty, those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1-4). God’s Word is effective to do what it says and give what it promises because the Holy Spirit is always in partnership with Holy Scripture.
Like you, Peter has his own gifts and talents from the Lord. Peter is a fisherman. A professional fisherman. Peter knows the best time to let down the nets is at night. Peter knows the best places to let down the nets. Peter, the professional fisherman, has been fishing all night and caught nothing.
So, what does Peter do when Jesus asks him to let down the nets?
Peter’s response should surprise you. It is an unexpected response.
And Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.”
Peter responds in faith to Jesus. Peter trusts Jesus to do what He says.
What is it that you believe about physical blessings from God. Your response to the second article of the Apostles’ Creed is partly this:
I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.
When Jesus then actually gives Peter a catch of fish, Peter is overwhelmed with His unworthiness. That is ok. Jesus is holy. Jesus is God. To feel overwhelmed in unworthiness before God is the effective work of His Word. Again, that is ok.
It is just not the end. It is not the last word.
Maybe you did not fall on your knees that last time you filled your car with groceries. But Jesus did bless you with those groceries.
If you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus Christ’s holiness, then you have found your repentance for this morning. But again, repentance alone is not the end.
Jesus grants you faith in Him as well.
By faith in Christ, you recognize that Jesus Christ is busy blessing both the good and the bad with daily food and drink.
And by the same faith in Christ, you give thanks to God that you have received your daily bread.
By faith in Christ, you hear His law and recognize your unworthiness; your sin.
And by the same faith in Christ, you receive the forgiveness of your sin.
Jesus did not remain in Peter’s boat. Jesus went on to become the atoning sacrifice for you. Faith receives the atoning sacrifice of Jesus through Word and Sacrament. This faith justifies.
Peter received the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Peter trusted Jesus.
This same Peter has a word for you. He says you have something greater that he did. Even though Peter would see with his own eyes the Transfiguration of Jesus, he says you have something better. Even though Peter would see Jesus crucified, Jesus’ empty tomb, Jesus resurrected, and Jesus’ ascension, Peter still says you have something greater.
You have the Holy Scripture.
You have God’s Word. His Word is life giving because God has promised that this Word is always in partnership with His Holy Spirit.
Let us take St. Peter’s encouragement and take Jesus Christ at His Word. Jesus does what He says. Jesus gives what He promises.
For Jesus to forgive you your sins is now as easy as it was for Him to direct a school of fish into Peter’s net.
Jesus is gathering you into His Gospel net by forgiving you all your sins; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard and protect your body and soul through Jesus Christ, your Savior. Amen.