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Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 10, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: Luke 5:1–5:11

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 5:1-11
Date: February 10th, 2019; Epiphany 5; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • In our Gospel reading for this morning we heard that Simon, better known as Peter, had a difficult and frustrating night.  
  • In the darkness he worked hard - moving the boat around the waters, casting the nets overboard, trying to catch some fish.  
  • But all of his effort didn’t pay off.  We are told that not even one fish was caught.
  • As the sun was coming up, Peter chose to cut his losses.  
  • The fish weren’t cooperating, so Peter decided it was time to go back to shore and clean out the nets.  
  • As he was doing this, Jesus got into his boat and asked him to go out a bit from the land.  
  • The people were so excited to hear what Jesus was teaching that they crowded him - so he wanted a bit of distance so that all of the people could see and hear him.
  • So Jesus asked Peter to help him get some space.  
  • We are not told what Jesus was teaching, but he likely taught about the dangers and death of sin, and warned against false teachers, and proclaimed the truth that forgiveness and salvation are found only in him.  
  • After Jesus finished teaching the crowd, he gave Peter the first of three gifts that day.  
  • He said to Peter, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  
  • Peter answered that they had been at it all night and hadn’t caught even one fish - but trusted Jesus and left down the nets.
  • We know what happens.  They caught so many fish that the nets were bursting at the seams and they needed help to bring them in!  There were so many fish that the boat started to sink!  
  • This is a miracle - and with it - Jesus helps Peter by providing him with his daily bread.  
  • Peter is a fisherman and he needs fish to make a living.  This is the first gift that Jesus gave to Peter.
  • Peter’s reaction to what happened is interesting.  
  • Just think if you met a man and he miraculously made you rich.  
  • All of the sudden you have a big number in your bank account and you can go buy anything you want!  
  • Most of us would be thrilled!  We would be excited!  We would start thinking about everything we could buy!
  • But this isn’t Peter’s reaction. 
  • Peter recognized that he was in the presence of more than just a good teacher.  He recognized that he was in the presence of more than just a man.  
  • Peter recognized that he was in the presence of the promised Messiah.  
  • The One proclaimed by the prophets of old - was sitting in his boat!
  • But even more than that, Peter recognized that he was in the presence of the Holy Lord.  
  • And Jesus’ holiness quickly made Peter recognize exactly how unholy he was.  
  • It is terrifying for a sinner to be face to face with God.  Everything is laid out in plain sight.  All of our sinful thoughts, words, and actions exposed.  
  • Nowhere to run.  Nowhere to hide.  No more excuses or rationalizing.  
  • How terrifying God’s purity, righteousness, and holiness is for us sinners.
  • This is what Peter felt.  He fell down at Jesus’ knees and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
  • What a confession.  
  • Peter acknowledged that he is a poor miserable sinner who deserves nothing but God’s present and eternal punishment.  
  • Peter recognized that for his sin he only deserves that God depart from him.
  • I wonder if we sometimes overlook or take for granted God’s holiness and the seriousness of our sin.  
  • Do we take our sin seriously?  Do we recognize the harm it does to ourselves and others?  Do we seek to go and sin no more?
  • Do we take seriously the present and eternal punishment we deserve?
  • God does not judge us according to the standards of this world.  He does not grade us on a curve.  
  • We stand before God in the light of his pure righteousness and holiness - all of our sin exposed.   
  • Peter became very aware of this and asked Christ Jesus, the Holy One, to depart.
  • But Jesus didn’t leave Peter to wallow in his sin.  
  • For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world.
  • Jesus did not come into this world to simply terrify us.  
  • Jesus came to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  
  • This is why he said to Peter, “Do not be afraid.” 
  • The only reason Peter was able to be in God’s presence without trembling in fear is because Jesus has taken away his guilt and his sin is atoned for.  
  • God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
  • Jesus died on the cross to take away our guilt and to atone for our sin.
  • That means we are forgiven.  That means we are declared not guilty for our sin.  
  • That means that we have been clothed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness.  
  • That means that we can be in the presence of God’s righteousness and holiness for eternity - because in Christ, we too are righteous and holy. 
  • So Jesus gave Peter two gifts: a boatload of fish, and, most importantly - the forgiveness of his sins and eternal life.
  • Jesus gave Peter one more gift that day.  
  • He said, “…from now on you will be catching men.”  
  • Peter was given the gift, the privilege, of being called to be a disciple to proclaim the precious Gospel, the Good News of salvation.  
  • Peter was blessed to receive all of these gifts from Jesus that day on the lake of Gennesaret.
  • We are blessed to receive these gifts from Jesus today.
  • As Jesus provided Peter, the fisherman, with fish to earn a living - so he provides our daily bread today.  
  • All that supports and sustains the needs of our body - food, drink, clothing, home, friends, family - are all gifts provided by God. 
  • Yet, most importantly, he gives to us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life today.  
  • Like Peter, we are sinful and fall-short of the glory of God.  
  • But Jesus also says to all of us, “Do not be afraid.”  
  • He says to all of us, “Do not be afraid.  I have claimed you as my loved and redeemed child in the waters of Holy Baptism and all of your sins are forgiven.  You have the Holy Spirit who sustains your trust in me and enables you to live as a child of God.  In Holy Baptism you have been made pure, righteous, and holy.”
  • He says to all of us, “Do not be afraid.  Salvation has been revealed to you in my Word.  Through my Word you hear of my love for you and of what I have done to forgive you and save you.  Through my word you grow in your understanding of who you are and of who I am.  Through my word the Holy Spirit works in your heart and mind to trust in what I have done for you.”
  • He says to all of us, “Do not be afraid.  I come to you in my true body and true blood to bring you forgiveness, strength, and life.”  
  • Our daily bread and the forgiveness of our sins for eternal life.  These are God’s gifts that we receive today.  
  • We also receive the third gift that Jesus gave to Peter that day.  
  • We receive the gift of being called and enabled to live as God’s people – as God’s disciples, proclaiming his love to the world around us and serving him by serving our neighbours.  
  • We receive God’s gifts and go out into the world, into the different vocations we have been called to, and share them.  
  • We love.  We forgive.  We show mercy.  We proclaim the Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus.  
  • What an honour.  What a privilege.  
  • My brothers and sisters in Christ, “Do not be afraid.”  God provides you with your daily bread.  Your sins are forgiven, your death is defeated, and eternal life is yours. 
  • You are a disciple of Christ - and through you, others hear the Good News of salvation and experience God’s love.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

More in Epiphany

March 3, 2019

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

February 24, 2019

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany