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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Fifth Sunday After Epiphany
Series C

Option #1: "Fundamental Facts Fishermen Should Follow"
Luke 5:1-11
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

1) The Fish Creator knows where the fish are--vv4-7

Word Pictures in the New Testament: v5--Master (epistata). Used only by Luke in the NT and always in addresses to Christ (8:24, 45; 9:33, 49; 17:13). Common in the older writers for superintendent or overseer (one standing over another). This word recognizes Christ’s authority.

2) Viewing His power means feeling our failings--vv8-9

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: He fell down at Jesus’ knees--This was a common posture of "supplication." He had no doubt now of the power and knowledge of Jesus. In amazement, wonder, and gratitude, ...he prostrated himself to the earth, trembling and afraid. So should sinful people "always" throw themselves at the feet of Jesus at the proofs of his power; so should they humble themselves before him at the manifestations of his goodness. In his deep consciousness of sin, therefore, he requested that Jesus would depart from him and his little vessel. Peter’s feeling was not unnatural, though it was not proper to request Jesus to leave him. It was an involuntary, sudden request, and arose from ignorance of the character of Jesus. We "are" not worthy to be with him, to be reckoned among his friends, or to dwell in heaven with him; but he came to seek the lost and to save the impure. He graciously condescends to dwell with those who are humble and contrite, though they are conscious that they are not worthy of his presence; and we may therefore come boldly to him, and ask him to receive us to his home--to an eternal dwelling with him in the heavens.


3) Following Him makes one a fisher of men--vv10-11

Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 2: Luke

Luke 5:10: Thou shalt catch men (ese˘i zo˘gro˘n). Periphrastic future indicative, emphasizing the linear idea. The old verb Zo˘greo˘ means to catch alive, not to kill. So then Peter is to be a catcher of men, not of fish, and to catch them alive and for life, not dead and for death. The great Pentecost will one day prove that Christ’s prophecy will come true. Much must happen before that great day. But Jesus foresees the possibilities in Simon and he joyfully undertakes the task of making a fisher of men out of this poor fisher of fish.

Morning and Evening Devotions, Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch." (Luke 5:4) We learn from this narrative the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless he is glorified; but he hath himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which he is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. "Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing." What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskilfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? "Without him we can do nothing." But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and his will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in his Church, his presence is the Church’s power--the shout of a king is in the midst of her. "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Let us go out on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for he who bids us let down the net will fill it with fish.

+   +   +

(Luke 5:11) Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."

In a few months it will be fishing season again. I used to live in Minnesota, the land of, not 10,000 lakes, but the land of more than 13,000 lakes. I lived in a small town the first year I was a pastor, and it had a beautiful lake. A member of my church took me fishing and said I could use his boat whenever he wasn’t using it. I remember catching bullheads and how good they tasted from the cold waters of that spring-fed lake.

Maybe what we learn from our kind of fishing will help us to understand what Jesus called "a fisher of men." Many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. They fished with a net, not with a hook and line the way we do. No matter what you use, here’s the first thing to remember: You have to go where the fish are. Well, I guess so! The fish won’t come to you riding bicycles, now will they? If you’re going to catch men for Jesus, you’ll find them among the people you know--your friends, your neighbors, maybe even someone in your family.

Here’s the second thing: You have God’s power to help you. Jesus knew where the fish were and led them into the fishing nets that day. They caught so many they had to signal to their friends to come and help them; they couldn’t carry all they had caught in their little boats. Just so, when we catch men for Jesus, God’s power is at work. You don’t have to be really smart to catch men, and you don’t really have to be a great talker; this kind of fishing happens when you love someone enough to bring them to Jesus. And you do that with the power of God’s Word. It’s a miracle when someone comes to know Jesus, just as it was a miracle when Peter and his friends caught all those fish.

Here’s the last thing this story tells us: When Peter saw the power of Jesus, he felt how sinful he was. He even told him to go away! But Jesus won’t go away; he came here because he loves us. He loved us so much that he died on the cross for our sins. When you feel guilty because of sin, don’t ask Jesus to go away; ask him to come in and stay with you. He’ll take your sins away every day and he’ll help you to be the kind of fisherman that catches men!

And that’s no fish story!

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Option #2: "Growing Up"
1 Corinthians 14:12b-20
Rev. Kelly Bedard., B.A., M.Div.

The Point: there's no "I" in "team"; Together Everyone Accomplishes More
The Problem: self(ish)-building; misinterpretation(s); mindless praying, singing, and praising
The Promise: Coach God won't quit on us, empowering us to grow up and together in Him
1. oikodome {oy-kod-om-ay'}, v12: (the act of) building, building up; metaphorically, edifying, edification; the act of one who promotes another's growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness; a building (i.e., the thing built, edifice). (Blue Letter Bible)
2. phren {frane}, v20: the midriff or diaphragm, the parts of the heart; the mind; the faculty of perceiving and judging. (BLB)
3. teleios {tel'-i-os}, v20: brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect; consummate human integrity and virtue; of people, full grown, adult, of full age, mature. (BLB)
4. The Corinthians, who were inordinately proud of a striking gift like speaking in tongues, needed Paul's sober judgment of the value of their gift for public worship. They were actually childish in their fascination with this gift. Godet observes, "It is indeed the characteristic of the child to prefer the amusing to the useful, the brilliant to the solid. And this is what the Corinthians did by their marked taste for glossolalia [speaking in tongues]." "Grow up!" Paul urges the Corinthians. He tells them there is a place for a childlike attitude, but in their thinking they should not be childish... "Grow up!" is the admonition of this chapter to all who feel that they are not real Christians unless they have had "some physical or emotional or ecstatic experience, something they could see or feel or hear." [De Haan] Mature Christians know they are true, first-born children of God by faith in Christ Jesus because God's Word tells them they are. They read God's Word and they believe what it says. They do not demand special charismatic experiences before they will be convinced of their status as children of God. (Carleton Toppe)
5. Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is optional.
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