St. Luke 5:1-11 – Trinity 5 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
July 12, 2020
INI. Amen. καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς Σίμων εἶπεν· Ἐπιστάτα, διʼ ὅλης νυκτὸς κοπιάσαντες οὐδὲν ἐλάβομεν· ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ῥήματί σου χαλάσω τὰ δίκτυα. (St. Luke 5:5). St. Peter had it out all figured out. He had his Jesus life — church, Bible Study, and potlucks. What Lutheran doesn’t like a good Potluck? Peter too! Jesus always gives the best Fish Poboys!
Peter also had his work life. Fishing not for a hobby like but for a career. Fished these waters his whole life. He knew how to catch fish— his life depended upon it.
Traveling preacher Jesus comes with a large crowd in tow. They push Him, press Him against the shore demanding of Him some words. That’s the way of faith! Faith clings to the Lord’s Words and promises as if our lives depended upon it. Because they do!
So, Jesus hopped into St. Peter’s boat and asked him to put out a little from the shore. And He taught the crowd right there from the boat! But the Lord didn’t stop there, after teaching, He asked Peter, Ἐπανάγαγε εἰς τὸ βάθος καὶ χαλάσατε τὰ δίκτυα ὑμῶν εἰς ἄγραν. (Luke 5:4)
Peter knew fishing. He lived it. He breathed it. And here was the Lord telling to cast his net into a water that he knew had been utterly fish-less all night long. So when Pete says ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ῥήματί σου χαλάσω τὰ δίκτυα (Luke 5:5), you can bet it was not in faith, but with a sigh and an eye roll just to prove Jesus wrong.
You see — it’s easy for a while to juggle all the compartments of your life: work, faith, family, politics, and even how we fight this virus — all neatly compartmentalized so you can get along with the world, your family, your work, and still have your church.
But when your faith conflicts with those other compartments of your life, that’s when the problems begins. When the world pushes your faith, when it contradicts it, when it challenges it, when the world says you are gonna get this virus and die, what moves? Do you trust Jesus or do you trust what you know, think, feel? Do you know nothing other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified or is that just one contradictory truth amongst many in your mind?
The Miracle: Fish and more fish. So many fish that the net was breaking. Call the other boat there’s so many fish. Two boats so filled with fishies that they are gonna go under!
That’s the way of faith — always more. More forgiveness, more mercy, more love — from God to you and then enlivening your love, mercy, and forgiveness to others. Won on the Cross where Jesus suffered and died for your sins and the sins of the whole world and then delivered to you in the waters of your Baptism.
Baptism— that’s where fishes are caught in His net. You, me, all of us were caught up by Jesus’ men in the net of His words. Fishermen like Kunz, Koch, Johnson, Fenker, and the fisherman you are slumming with now delivering the words that the world thinks are foolish but that you know to be the power of God.
Ἔξελθε ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι ἀνὴρ ἁμαρτωλός εἰμι, κύριε. (St. Luke 5:8) Peter drops to his knees in fear. All that He had known about his life was trumped by Jesus and He simply had refused to believe it. He had believe Jesus was God but not the God that is two-boats-filled-with-fish good. The Lord was the only compartment—the only truth in His life—that was certain and true.
The Lord is calling you to repent today. He will not suffer Himself to be just a part of your life, He would be in all of your life —- in your work, your family, your friendships, your politics, even in how you protect yourself from this virus.
And I’m not telling you to force your faith down the throats of your neighbor or to walk around as if you are virus proof. That’s not what Jesus did for St. Peter and not how He rolls with you. I’m telling you to cast your net on the side of the boat of your life and get ready for a catch of fish. Live your Christianity in your vocations — in your school, work, family, your politics. Put your mask on and obey the governor with the certainty that all these measures won’t protect you. No, your Lord has made you death proof and He will save you even if the virus gets you.
The world and your faith are going to collide more and more in the months to come. They are incompatible. One is going to have to give. I’m telling you now to comfort you so that when you fear being cancelled, that you will lose friendships, that you are going to die every time someone coughs, that you will lose your livelihood, then you will remember that before anything else your are a fish that has been caught by Jesus. The most that anything in this world can do is kill you. You already died in your Baptism. As surely as He lives, you will live also! That Gospel truth isn’t just a part of your life, it permeates every other thing you do, say, how you fight this virus, and is the center of all your relationships.
And when you realize that like St. Peter, you know you have failed, don’t fret. Confess your sins. Be forgiven in the boat.
For the worst thing that could happen to you — death— happened to Jesus first. You have been caught by Jesus in the waters of Holy Baptism. He has you in His net. He won’t let you go. He raised from the dead. You will too.
For Christ is your salvation. He your life — your whole life. He has saved you —all of you. From the world that hates you, from what you think, from being cancelled, from being abandoned, even from this crazy virus. You are a fish. You are saved in Jesus. INI. Amen.