The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2016. Luke 5:1-11.
The Miraculous Catch of Fish




The Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




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

The Hymn #  375 If Thy Beloved Son
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 # 132  O God of God

At Your Word

The Communion Hymn #350      Jesus the Very Thought (St. Agnes)
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

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

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, with the audience down below Him.

This miracle lesson shows us God's concern for His own, starting with spiritual matters. The crowd wanted to hear the Word of God, so Jesus first made arrangements to preach to them so they would hear Him easily. He had a perfect opportunity, so He took advantage of using a fishing boat, a craft designed for stability, not like the canoes we rent on lakes or find at camps.

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. 

Two fishing boats were nearby, and they were not full of fish. They were completely empty. He went into Simon Peter's boat and asked him to push out from land. There Jesus had a perfect place to project His voice into the crowd, so everyone could here Him. And He also had a very special audience there in the boat - the very first pope, if we believe the Church of Rome. Tis strange how that subject never came up in this lesson or any other. In fact, the apostles were equal when they had a conference together, and Paul could confront Peter (Galatians) on the topic of keeping kosher.

Jesus taught the importance of faith in Him as the way in which to become righteous. Or - justification by faith. We know that from His many sermons and from His ultimate farewell sermon in John 16. Simon had the special opportunity to experience the conviction of sin as defined by the Son of God. "The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin...because they believe not on Me." 

The fullness of the godhead dwelt in Jesus (Colossians) so when Jesus taught, it was the Father and the Spirit united with Him. Simon began to have faith in Him. As we know from our own experience and the episodes with the disciples, faith can be a small seed at first, a small seed that grows over time. Like plants that are whipped by the wind and pelted by rain and sleet, we grow stronger and become fruitful by abiding in Him.

This was the start of Simon's growth in faith, hearing the Word of God. Faith is foundational, because what follows cannot be understood apart from faith in Jesus. If we just have Jesus the Miracle Worker providing an enormous catch of fish, then the crowds only want Him for their stomachs. In fact, this did happen and many disciples (John 6) walked away, saying, "Who can bear these hard words?"

Simon as an experience fisherman felt completely crushed by their failure to catch anything. It was in that state that he heard Jesus preaching next to him in the boat and began to have faith in Him.

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. 

Simon was still despairing when Jesus urged him to launch into the deep waters and let down the nets to catch some fish. Simon knew from working all night that there were no fish, which were more easily caught then. Now the sun was up and it was worse for fishing. But Simon had faith. Jesus' Word moved him to try.

The men were not even looking for an answer from God for their needs. But Jesus anticipated that need and provided for them.

Luther:
3. Although it is not indeed the purpose of Christ’s coming or preaching to foster and provide for the body, yet he is not unmindful of it when the first thing sought is his kingdom. He therefore takes upon himself the distress of these poor fishermen who, through all this night, and with all their efforts and toil, have caught nothing. However, as they have lent him their boat to preach, and have listened to him, he, without any thought on their part, and before they have uttered any prayer, provides for them a draught of fishes so great that they are thereby enabled fully to learn and clearly to understand that in him they have a Master who cares for them and will not forsake them, provided they abide in his Word and remain his disciples.

Simon had faith because of Jesus' preaching of faith. Therefore, with faith in Jesus, he agreed to try the impossible. So we need to remember this when we despair of help in time of troubles. The changes and misadventures of life deprive us of security and make us anxious. And yet God is answering prayers before we even ask them. We must always remember that. 

Without faith, people look at vaults full of money and say, "I have so little compared to my relatives." I visited two MDs where the wife said, "The real money is in procedures. My sister makes 600k." Together the couple made $200,000 20 years ago and had no children, but they looked at others and coveted what they had. 

One of my students came from a wealthy family. He was putting his finances together again and on the road to making a very good salary. He was tops in his field and everything was turned upside-down on him. He was punished for being good at what he did and he was out of a job. In faith he began again with what he loved, music. Now he is very happy and successful in that field, a completely different one in some respects, but he earned an MA in education before that, as I suggested. He said, "I use that degree every day."

God provides abundantly and miraculously, beyond all hope or imagination. Simon's expertise was quashed by the power of the Word, which can vanquish all our knowledge and mock our human labors.

Luther:
10. Scripture, however, everywhere shows the harm that is done by the avarice and anxieties of unbelief. For unbelief can by no means obtain anything from God that would benefit, comfort or bless it, but so deprives itself of the divine benediction that it can have no satisfaction or joy in the temporal goods it desires, and can never possess a good and peaceful conscience. Hence it is that Christ, in Matthew 13:22, speaks of all anxiety, with regard to sustenance, as thorns, on account of which the Word of God cannot put forth its strength or its fruits. St. Paul expounds the meaning of the thorns in 1 Timothy 6:9-10, saying: “They that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil; which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

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.

Luther:
7. From this every one may see and learn that no man lives by his labor or exertion, however great and unhampered this may be, but must live by God’s blessing and grace. Let it remain at this, as the Germans say, that “God helps,” or “God bestows his gifts over night,” which saying has come down to us from pious men of old who realized its truth in their experience. Daily experience still shows that many a one toils, tooth and nail, in anxiety and hard work, who yet can scarcely earn his bread or get rid of his debts and poverty; whilst to another, who takes it easy and newer overexerts himself, everything comes and flows in so abundantly that we really must say: “All this comes from God’s help and not from any man’s labor.” In <19C702> Psalm 127:2 we are told: “So he giveth it unto his beloved in sleep,” as if the Psalmist would say: “It is in vain that you fret and plague yourself with cares and labor, day and night, in order to provide what is needed in the home. Much may be needed there; but it does not depend upon your hands and labor at all. Nothing will come of your effort unless God himself is the “House Father” and makes it possible for you to say: ‘God bestows his gifts over night. ’ Grain and all food from the earth, yea, all that a man has, or may acquire, must be given him of God.”

Those fishing boats were made specifically for this kind of work. I once read a dissertation devoted to fishing boats in the New Testament. They were flat-bottomed, very stable, and made to take on loads. But these man-made tools for fishing could not hold all the fish that were not there the night before. Helpers were not enough. A second boat was not enough. And they began to sink from all the weight. This was far beyond the normal good catch, and it came at just the right time to turn their despair into joy - and even into fear.

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. 

The Reformation often addressed the "terrors of the conscience" in which man realizes the vast gulf between Almighty God and his own sinfulness. Just as Simon in faith pushed out into the deep and let down his nets, so in faith he realized his vast sinfulness. He worshiped Jesus saying the Lord should leave him, a wretched, flawed, sinful man.

This can strike people in many ways. Some fight enormous battles with depression, as Luther did. He said only someone who had fought these spiritual onslaughts (Anfectungen) could give him spiritual counsel. And so he has been a source of comfort for millions. Such battles were once considered part of life and mentioned in biographies, such as Walther and Pieper, as well as Luther. People took a leave of absence for months to recover. 

In other cases parent worry about how they failed their children. If only I could have... There are so many routes down that pit of despair. Once I was so sorry that our son spent so much time in nursing homes and hospitals because of his sister. He and I were in the big area where patients gathered. And I found him happily playing a game with a hat, with a very severely disabled boy who could not speak or do much. Both were having a great time. Later he told one of his friends. "I loved growing up in a parsonage. I would not trade a minute of it." 

There are challenges too great for parents because so many factors work against children growing up. Considering the terrors of the conscience, we can realize that Jesus the Savior is our comfort, because the so-called perfect person is still a sinner. The best of intentions cannot change a flawed and broken world, where all kinds of hurt come from different directions. 

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.

This reminds me of the pastor we met at one of those evangelism conferences. He told us about his mother being a prostitute and her customers beating her up. If he intervened, as a boy, they would beat him up too. He wanted to be a minister, but he told all this to the pastor who was encouraging him. He said, "You see, I can't be a minister with my past." The pastor hugged him and said, "You are exactly what we need."

This was the most gracious, warm, and welcoming man. Before he told that story no one would have thought that possible in his life. I took a photo of him with my wife Chris and I can still remember his big, warm smile.

Some minister was a neighbor to him and filled that emptiness with the Gospel of forgiveness. Despair was replaced with joy. That is why Luther calls the Church a mouth and an ear Church. The Gospel spreads by speaking the Good News and by hearing it. 

God works from our weaknesses and flaws, creating something new. I was working with an alcoholic and drug addict - I was glad when he began to get counseling from other addicts in AA. He began to tell me how their straightened him out about his destructive habits. That bottoming out (which we studied at Yale at their famous clinic for alcoholism) was the start of having a real job, productive time, and new healthy habits. So many blessings flow from that, but they started from another person's battle with addiction. 

Wherever your pain has been sharpest, there are people experiencing that who need Christian comfort. Sometimes we get help from the veterans so we can later provide that same help. 

Isaiah 65:23 -24
They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Ephesians 3:20-21
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.