Concordia Lutheran Church
February 10, 2019
Don’t Worry, Be Catching
† Jesus, Son and Savior †
May the grace, the mercy and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ so comfort you, so put to rest your worries, that you can go fishing with Jesus!
If you teach a man to fish…
Every once in a while, you hear a saying that someone says comes from scripture, but when you start to think about it, it is actually quite contrary to scripture. This one came to mind in regard to this sermon.
If you give a man a fish, you fed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish….
he has to buy rods, graphite reels, lines, boxes, boats, trailers, coolers, sonar fish finders and a whole catalog of other things!
I suppose there is a corollary, if you teach a man to fish for men, you have to build a church, call a pastor, pass budgets, elect board members, hire musicians, plan woman’s teas, family fun nights etc..
But not let’s get ahead of ourselves!
In our gospel today, Jesus is going to do some pretty incredible things. He’s going to teach the massive crowd, he’s going to cause a miraculous catch, but there is something much greater that will happen, so incredible that Peter and his partners will leave a once in a lifetime catch to rot on the beach.
And God will do to you the same thing today….
But first, we have to witness Peter freak out…
What caused Peter to stress out?
I must wonder about Peter, who spent his life working as a fisherman, as he first dropped the nets as this silly rabbi instructed.
I get the feeling he did it with a little sarcasm and even more disbelief. Yeah, you want me to go right back to where we dragged our nets, all night long, as if all of a sudden, during the hottest part of the day a thousand fish…
Got love Peter, because every once in a while he gets it.
I mean, I don’t think he listened to the Rabbi teach all that much, he may have even fallen asleep in the boat.
Hear it again, “When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.”
Peter collapses in fear, he begs Jesus to leave. In Greek, the phrasing pictures fear
Get out of here, don’t you know what a sinner I am? If you don’t leave, I am a goner!
It is a common story in scripture, whether it is Isaiah in our Old Testament reading, or Moses, or Elijah, whether it is David or Paul on the road to Damascus or John as God gives him the vision of Jesus in Revelation. Even those who encounter angels panicked, stressed out, and realized how ill-prepared we are to be in the presence of God
We are sinners, we don’t belong in Almighty, most Holy, most pure God’s presence.
And Peter realized it, and begged God to leave him.
Would we do the same, if we realized the depth of our sin, or the heartache it caused God?
Or do we take our sin to casually, just as if we think God will forgive this one again, that the damage we do will be taken care of?
What does Jesus offer us?
And as Peter collapses in the boat, Jesus says something quite amazing,
Fear not. Let’s go and catch something that really matters.
You see, unlike the times I go fishing, the word in Greek isn’t about sitting there with a rod in one hand and a drink in the other. It wasn’t like that for Peter and friends there. The words for fishing were “catch” and “harvest”
Jesus, knowing the cross is in the future, knowing that everyone one of Peter’s sins will be atoned for, knowing the forgiveness, even when Jesus would betray Jesus as Peter would tell people, “I never knew the man,” will be forgiven; says to Peter,
Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, don’t let being in my presence cause you anxiety.
Let’s go catch some people and bring them into the Kingdom of God.
What an invitation, to be partners with God! To engage in His greatest project, to redeem the world, to catch people and watch, as God begins to heal their broken and often tortured souls. To see the promises of God poured out on people you love, or will come to love, as they are united with Jesus in baptism. Ask Susan what it was like to help baptize one of her students, or ask Chuck why he demands to be the deacon on duty when we baptize someone.
Or ask the elders what it is like to help feed people the Body and Blood of Christ here at the altar.
There is something incredible about helping someone come to know God’s love. It drives Bernie to the Sudan and even more… to places like Texas and Minnesota. Or Pastor Davies to the mountain jungles of Papua Guinea, or even my friend Matt to a university in Nebraska where he works with students from around the world.
You and I are called to walk with God, fishing…
That is the greatest thing in this passage, the invitation to help others know Jesus, to draw them in, as a fisher draws in his nets.
I tell you something, there is no greater way to know the blessed, unexplainable peace of
Lutherans don’t give “normal invitations” at the end of a sermon.
But I will give you one today, and invitation I pray you can’t refuse…
Don’t worry, be catching….with Jesus
Repent Finally and Let’s Go Fishing
† I.H.S †
May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you the confidence you need as God grants you repentance and then invites you to go fishing!
Two Invitations, two blessings
Have you ever been asked to go somewhere with someone, and dreaded it, only to find yourself really enjoying it?
I remember taking Kay one year for her birthday to see a musical at the Pantages. Like a lot of guys, I am not much into musicals. It’s not just the “guy” thing. I’ve been asked to play in the band/orchestra for a couple of them, and both times, I hated it. So taking Kay to a musical was something I did for her, dreading it, well prepared to hate every moment of sitting there, except enjoying the smile on Kay’ face.
I was greatly surprised when I actually found myself enjoying Phantom of the Opera. So much so I actually took her to see it a couple more times.
Life is like that sometimes. So is walking with God. Somethings we seem to dread….we find are incredible blessings.
In the gospel this morning, we see two incredible blessings of that kind.
We probably don’t see them as blessings, but that is the point of this sermon. To help us understand what Jeus was offering to people were life chaging blessings, incredible, mind-blowing blessings that we would enjoy, and rejoice in, and share with others.
Blessings we describe with a couple of words
Don’t those things sound far more fun than going fishing, or going to a quilt show, or for me and William, hanging out in Best Buy or Fry’s?
So, let’s see how these things are blessings, blessings that provide joy beyond our ability to comprehend
Repentance – and invitation to be changed!
Hear Jesus’s words again,
15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
REPENT OF YOUR SINS!!!!
Don’t worry, not going to turn into Baptist and preach Hellfire and brimstone.
Because that is based on a faulty understanding of repentance, one that makes it sound like beating yourself up until you really feel sorry and then God will forgive you, maybe.
Hear how it is used in the Book of Acts,
17 If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.” Acts 11:17-18 (NAB)
Does that sound like something to be afraid of?
But repentance isn’t something to be afraid of, it is an invitation of the greatest kind. Literally it means to change one’s mind, or one’s way of thinking. Another way to hear it described is to put on the mind of Christ.
This is what God does to us, as we hear of His love and experience its breadth and width, height and depth. He transforms our mind. When Jesus says the Kingdom of God is near, when He is explaining to them that God does care,
Yes, repentance means giving over to God our sin, but that is a gift. To walk away from our sin, from our shame and guilt, to live freely in God’s kingdom. To know that God has forgiven us and experience the love of God in every facet of our lives.
That is why Jesus talks of repentance as a parallel to “believe in the Good News!” Because repentance is something incredible, a blessing to change our lives, to be free of all of our failures, to know we are loved and cared for, because that is the change God makes in us, that change is repentance!
Fishing for people, (Or Knitting them together)
Repentance is a joy, but so is evangelism, or as Jesus told a bunch of fisherman, fishing for men. I suppose that if he was talking to quilters he would say sewing another square into the quilt, that square being….human..
That might work in the case of some human, others might not like being called a square!
But as fishing for men, and bring them in works, so does sewing someone into the family of God, creating for them home, a place where they know they are cared for, a place where they know they are loved.
That is what evangelism is, sharing the news, the good, great, wonderful news that God cares for us. Helping people become part of the family, because God our Father wants them to be part of the family.
That’s what evangelism is, reaching out to people and saying, God cares for you, and He died to remove all that would steal their life, just as He did for us.
That’s the amazing thing, the more we understand His grace, the more we experience His love, the more we want others to experience it that love, that immeasurable love, as well. A love that we experience as we celebrate that love at the altar, and share in the Body and blood of Jesus.
So repent, let God transform you – and then lets go fishing for men, or sewing them into the quilt of our church. So they can share in the love and peace of God our Father! AMEN?