The Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2015
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 375 If Thy Beloved Son
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 # 132 O God of God
At Your Word, I Will Let Down the Net
The Communion Hymn #307 Draw Nigh and Take
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
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 Your Word, I Will Let Down the Net
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 sermon opportunity was special, because the land rises around the lake, so Jesus had a natural place from which to speak, especially on a boat. When surrounded by crowds, at an equal level, it was harder for those on the perimeter to hear and to see. The water was His sounding board and everyone could hear and see. As the church architects say, either slope the audience upward or build a higher chancel area. Jesus had a similar advantage in the Sermon on the Mount, only in reverse.
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
Luther saw the two ships as symbolic of Judaism and the Gentiles. He entered the Jewish ship, but the Gentile ship was needed to haul in the catch. Some will say, as they often do about allegories, "Nowhere in the text. You cannot say that." But look at the entire text, the entire Bible,and this is true. Jesus conducted His entire ministry as a Jew, as a rabbi, and yet He invited the Gentiles, preached to them and converted them, so they helped in drawing in the miraculous catch caught by the Word of God.
Pixelating the text is the sign of cults and sects. By that I mean they enlarge one verse or one phrase so much that it lacks focus and resolution. They make their favorite selection the entire Bible while ignoring the entire Bible. No wonder they despise the Word of God but fill the world with their endless chatter and foolish opinions. Therefore it is very important to see a verse in the context of the entire Scriptures. Only believers can do that. The works-salesmen and outward saints will not read more than whatever supports their needs.
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.
Sitting was the proper stance for a rabbi at that time. Jesus also sat for the Sermon on the Mount. The order of this miracle is important. Jesus taught first and performed the miracle through Peter second.
Both portions illustrate the miracle of the Word's powers. First of all, the Word converted people to faith in Christ. Peter revealed that by doubting whether any more fishing would help, but agreed to try again - "at your Word." He was saying, "I trust in You and and I trust Your Word." Human reason did not accomplish that. The Spirit worked on Peter through the Word. In fact, human reason and experience argued against catching any fish. They were experts who knew how to find the fish, and evening fishing is supposed to be more effective. Everything was against another attempt, but the Word caused Peter to trust in Jesus rather than everything he thought and experienced.
Next Peter and his helpers were able to see the effect of trusting the Word.
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.
When they trusted in the Word, they tried what had not worked before. The drew in so many fish that their newly repaired net broke. Here is where the analogy Luther fashioned works so well. What happened in the Apostolic Church? They had vast numbers of converts wherever they went, and Paul helped them include the Gentiles as well. Peter and his helpers captured so many fish that both ships began to sink. They were not canoes or speed boats, but flat stable ships designed for fishing and hauling the heavy harvest back to port. Not event the two ships together were adequate for the task.
Nor can we count the multitudes who heard the Word, believed, and entered into eternal life in those early days of persecution.
This also illustrates how God takes care of our daily needs. These fisherman did not have that safety net we talk about today. They needed food and yet they had experienced total failure the night before. When good news is awaited, the time passes very slowly. God can let us hope and pray for a long time. Suddenly, beyond anything we could imagine, God provides in abundance.
This miracle shows that God's Word changes the natural order in an instant, not that He neglects Creation at any moment. Trusting means not seeing and yet believing in God's mercy, love, and kindness.
When I planted Silver Queen corn on June 1st, I marked my calendar, allowing two weeks for germination. That is what the package said. When nothing came up and I saw holes in the mulch, at the right intervals, I assumed all the corn was eaten by squirrels or crows. I was done planting sweet corn. It's no good here, I thought. No more corn ever again. Instead, the corn germinated much later. Now it is already forming tassels. One can blame that on planting in cold soil and an minor annoyance.
I had another experience, where the teaching dwindled to almost nothing, step by step. No one communicates any information. I decided not to become gloomy but to wait. Anxiety is such a waste of energy, but I had all kinds of reasons to worry, including the stories about online schools fading away. Those were facts, and I knew my age was not a plus. But step by step, the new offers came in, and I reached the satisfactory number again. I used the extra time and energy to catch up on the justification by faith book, which is nearing completion.
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.
When Peter saw the divine nature of this event, his faith in Christ grew because he experienced firsthand what human reason could not explain. The majesty of Jesus' power made Peter aware of his sinful nature.
Apostates always make fun of this miracle. One was Reimarus, who denied the supernatural basis of Christianity. His Fragments became the foundation of the modern rejection of Biblical doctrine, such as Knapp on the Trinity and Tholuck on universalism. Knapp and Tholuch both taught at Halle University, established to teach Pietism.
In contrast, Creation shows us how God cares for our temporal needs, but the clergy, priests, and popes do not believe this.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
6. Here you see how God cares for the birds and flowers, and adorns them so beautifully; much move will he give us what we need; and yet we cannot trust him. So successfully has the devil taken us captive by his snares. If one comes now so far that he is not satisfied and does not trust God, then love must at once cease, so that he does no one any good, but he scratches together everything only on his own heap.
7. And in this way the calling of the priests and monks arose; only in order that they might help themselves and feed their stomachs, and not being permitted to work they ran into the cloisters. And the proverb is true:
Despair makes monks; yea, not only monks, but also priests, bishops and popes; for they do not trust God that he is able to feed and clothe them, and only think how they may fortify themselves against all want and poverty. All this is the life of unbelief. Then they go and keep strumpets or commit adultery, which are the fruits that follow unbelief; for they never trusted God, that he was able to sustain them, if they took unto themselves wives and remained out of the monasteries.
10b 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.
Jesus illustrated God's temporal care for the disciples and also their spiritual power in teaching the Word of God.
Sometimes people want to interpret "catching men" as judgement in the negative sense. But we can see from the Parable of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25 that judgment is both positive and negative. Those who took care of the naked and hungry and in prison did so through faith in Christ, and they are blessed. Those who did not also received judgment, another kind.