02-06-2022

“POINTING TO JESUS”

Text: Luke 5:1-11

Sunday February 6th, 2022 – Epiphany 5

Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr

Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our text for this Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany is the NT lesson from Luke 5 that was just proclaimed.

Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit working through your unchanging Word of truth to remind us we don’t need to be afraid of you or those you have given us. Remind us that you call your pastors to point us to your saving work. Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:

Dear saints, Jesus calls his disciples: Andrew, James and John, Matthew. We hear these texts and are tempted to think, “Jesus also calls us to gather people into his Church.” But rather than consider how we are called like Peter, it is better to consider that

Jesus Called Peter for Us, for You To point you to Jesus!

I.

Jesus is not content to preach in a corner. He is not pleased to do his works in secret. He knows that his words are words of life. He knows that his works, especially his death and resurrection, are the salvation of the world.

So Jesus not only goes to the cross for our salvation, he also calls apostles, and after them pastors, so that the word of the cross would go out unto all the world.

In a stunning passage in the Large Catechism, Martin Luther says, “Neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe on Him, and have Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel [1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 4:6].

The work of redemption is done and accomplished [John 19:30]. Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, and so on [Colossians 2:3].

But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew about it, then it would be useless and lost. So that this treasure might not stay buried but be received and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed. In the Word He has the Holy Spirit bring this treasure home and make it our own” (LC II 38).

Jesus wants to get the Word of reconciliation to us. As we hear how Jesus called Peter, we are reminded that Jesus sees to it that we hear the preaching of the Gospel, that we know about his death and resurrection, and that we have life in believing this Word.

II.

But first, before Jesus makes Peter a pastor, he’s got some unfinished business.

Let’s imagine it, then, that morning on the Sea of Galilee. Peter, James, John, and their crew had fished all night. They had worked extra hours trying to find a few fish, but they were skunked.

Now there is only cleaning up and heading home for some rest so they can get after it again at night. But then they see Jesus coming along with a crowd. Peter knows Jesus. His brother Andrew had introduced them a year or so ago. Peter had been with Jesus at the wedding at Cana. Peter knows Jesus, and he believes in him; Peter is a Christian.

But now Peter is back in his boat fishing. Perhaps Jesus had sent him home for a while; we don’t know. Perhaps Peter had thought the weeks he’d spent with Jesus were all there would be. But now that familiar and blessed face is back.

Jesus comes to Peter this morning, followed by a crowd, and asks Peter to take him out onto the water a little way. Peter does, and Peter listens as Jesus preaches. But then Jesus turns to Peter and stunningly says, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (v 4).

Now Peter could have protested. “Nothing all night. Nothing in the nets. You can’t catch fish in the daytime. You can’t catch fish in the deep. You preach. I’ll fish.” But Peter doesn’t.

He follows the command of Jesus. “At your word I will let down the nets” (v 5). And the One who spoke on the fifth day and created the fish in the sea summons the fish to the net. The catch is big enough to break the net and sink two boats. And look what happens.

Peter, in this catch of fish, sees what Jesus is up to, that he is making a claim on Peter. This great catch of fish is not to make Peter a great fisherman but to end his fishing altogether. Jesus is saying to Peter, “Now you are mine,” and Peter is afraid.

In the middle of a huge pile of flopping fish, and in the middle of a sinking boat, Peter falls down on his knees at Jesus’ feet and begs him, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (v 8).

You’d think he might have other things on his mind, but Peter is not terrified of sinking; he is not afraid of dying. He is afraid of Jesus, afraid of his holiness and wrath, and afraid of this claim that Jesus is making on him. And Peter is right to be afraid.

Our fears tell us about our idols. “What are you afraid of?” The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question, “What are your gods?”

Are you afraid to die, to hurt, to lose, to be lost? Are you afraid of the past, of the future, of what might happen, or that people would find out what did happen?

Are you afraid of your parents, your children, your boss, your neighbor? Are you afraid of pain, afraid of yourself, afraid of the devil? Whatever it is, that is your god.

The First Commandment teaches us to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” But how many other things are we afraid of? Peter has it right that day, knee deep in fish in a sinking boat: he is afraid of Jesus, and he is afraid because of his sin. “Depart from me, Lord. I’m a sinner.”

The last thing that sinners want is Jesus to be hanging around, because his coming should terrify us. No matter what trouble we’re in, this is our most profound and pressing concern: Jesus should judge us because of our sins.

But he doesn’t. Instead of condemning you because of your sin, Jesus stakes your sin, bears your sin, wears your sin to the cross. And there, instead of condemning you, he is cursed, afflicted, stricken, forsaken in your place. Jesus suffers for us, dies for us, for you.

Jesus looks at Peter in his sin and says, listen, “Do not be afraid” (v 10). Don’t fear. There is nothing to be afraid of. I am not angry. I did not come to judge you, to condemn you, or to destroy you.

I’ll take care of your sin. I’ll make a way for you to be alive and live with me forever. To Peter and to us, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.” This is the absolution, the forgiveness of sins, the purest and sweetest Gospel.

When the knowledge of our sin and God’s holiness pushes out every other fear so that we stand terrified of God’s wrath, and only God’s wrath, when we at last say, “God, I fear you.” God says to us, “I am nothing to be afraid of. Look, here is my Son, crucified for you.”

III.

And then he says, and this is the thing that this sermon is driving toward, “Look, here is my servant Peter, sent to preach you the Good News. Look, here is my servant John, James, Paul, sent to you as witnesseses of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Look, here is Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, preachers of my name and kindness. And look, here is your pastor, sent in my name to bring the Good News to you, to forgive your sins, to baptize you, to put the body and blood of Jesus into your mouth.”

Dear saints, Jesus is not content to be silent. He wants to be preached to you. He wants his promises to be heard by you. He wants to be believed in by you. He wants his name and kindness to echo in your ears and in your hearts because he loves you.

Sometimes I often here from faithful Christians a message that frustrates me. They may say jokingly or seriously, “You better behave around the pastor!”, or boy I hope Pastor doesn’t find out about what you did or what you yourself did. “Be quiet or behave, the Pastor is coming!”

Now while respect for the office of the Ministry is good and it’s good to be reminded of God’s law which is part of the word that a Pastor is a steward of, I don’t want others to be afraid of me or avoid me when they are hurting.

I also have the wonderful privilege to proclaim the sweet Gospel of what Jesus did for you! I want you to seek me out at those times when you are hurting and feeling guilty so I can share wonderful news of Christ crucified and risen for you!

I get to share the greatest peace that one can have by proclaiming the words of Jesus. “I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Do not be afraid! If you are feeling guilty, afraid, scared, angry or everything in between. I have the greatest news to share!

Oh and I would love to share in your joys as well praying a prayer of thanksgiving with you.

We rejoice in the calling of St. Peter because we see in this calling how Jesus still loves us. He not only dies for you, but he calls Peter and his apostles and his pastors so that you would know it, believe it, rejoice in it, and have eternal life in his name. Amen.

Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding guard and keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.