MESSENGERS UNCOVERED!

I. By the miracle of the catch of fish

II. By the ministry of the catch of people


Luke 5:1-11 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the

people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s

edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into

one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from

shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished

speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.

But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught

such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their

partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats

so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and

said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were

astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons

of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on

you will catch men.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and

followed him.


In the name of Jesus Christ, who has called us to be his messengers, dear

Christian friends, Interesting questions we heard today throughout our worship— only one of

which was answered, so we will answer them now! The first couple of questions came

from the LORD to the prophet Isaiah, asking him, “Whom shall I send? And who will go

for us?” (6:8). The next ones came from God through the Apostle Paul asking the

Romans, “And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can

they preach without being sent?” (Ro 10:14-15). And the last ones came from us

through the hymnwriter, “who will go and work today?...who will bear the sheaves

away?” (745 st1).

Do you know the answers to those questions? Are you ready for the answers to

those questions? Are you ready to admit the answer is...YOU?

MESSENGERS UNCOVERED!

I. By the miracle of the catch of fish

II. By the ministry of the catch of people


Yes, you and me and every other Christian are the ones whom God sends to go

for him, to preach the good news of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ

Jesus, to work in the harvest fields, to catch people for Jesus! If that is surprising to you,

if that is undesirable for you, if that is seemingly impossible for you, then look into this

reading before us today and see MESSENGERS UNCOVERED! I. By the miracle of the

catch of fish and II. By the ministry of the catch of people.

Some days or weeks before this event recorded here, John and Simon Peter’s

brother Andrew, not mentioned here, but referred to in Matthew and Mark’s Gospel

account, were disciples of John the Baptist who were then called by Jesus to be his

disciples, that is, followers (Jn 1). Andrew went to tell his brother Simon Peter and John

probably went and did the same thing with his brother James. So, for a short while, all

four of these men were both full-time fishermen and part-time followers. But that was

soon going to change.

I have to think these four men knew fully that Jesus was there on this day, but

their minds were on their jobs. They had worked hard all night and now they were

washing their nets, probably hoping to get home quickly and get some sleep. Do you

think they were even listening as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with

the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God?

It was time for Jesus to get their attention! He saw at the water’s edge two

boats, left there by the fishermen.... He got into one of the boats, the one belonging

to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught

the people from the boat.

First, he uses his Word to get their attention. This is the most effective tool Jesus

has and we count on it yet today! With it, he changes hearts from unbelief to faith and

he changes lives from wickedness to holiness. His Word works!

Next, came another attention-getting maneuver. When he had finished

speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a

catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught

anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so,

they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they

signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and

filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

With this miracle of the catch of fish, Jesus has the full attention of all in those

boats! Simon Peter is the one specifically mentioned and seems to be the one most

affected. First, we hear of his confidence in Jesus, as he responds to Jesus’ odd fishing

instruction, saying, “but because you say so, I will let down the nets”. Peter had known

enough through Old Testament Scripture, through his brother’s outreach conversation

and through that day’s sermon that Jesus was someone he could trust and someone

who might be able to help them with their fishing, even if it went contrary to every

fisherman’s tricks of the trade.

Then we also hear: When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,

“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” By his message and his miracle, Peter has

a much better and fuller picture of who Jesus is. He must have been thinking,

“Someone who can preach like Jesus does and someone who can do a miracle like this

must be the promised Messiah in whose presence no one should be able to stand,

especially not a sinner like me!”

But leaving Peter and the others was exactly the opposite of what Jesus wanted

and leaving Peter drowning in his guilt was far from Jesus’ intentions! Then Jesus said

to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” With these simple

words, Jesus forgives Peter for any doubt or misunderstanding he had and commissions

Peter for his new full-time job— to walk on dusty paths, not drift on wavy seas; to cast

the net of the gospel, not the net of twisted twine; to catch people alive, not fish dead.

So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Why does Jesus choose these men to do his valuable work? Why fishermen

without any formal education or training? Why would he go on to choose Philip and

Nathaniel and the others, including Matthew, a tax collector who, though educated,

seemed unlikely to follow and unable to change to goodness and honesty? As we see

messengers uncovered today, we see the least qualified are the first sent.

Why does Jesus choose us? We are all sinful men and women, just as Peter

admitted at the feet of Jesus in the boat and just as you and I admitted in the beginning

of today’s worship. We have lustful thoughts, injurious words, and destructive ways.

We have sins everyone sees and sins no one would ever guess. We deserve only

condemnation, not commendation, from Jesus.

Why does Jesus choose us? We are only retired salesmen or school teachers.

We are only tool and die workers. We are only Whirlpool call center employees. We

are only full-time students. We are only infants and toddlers. We may not have superb

leadership abilities or marvelous motivational words or excellent oratory skills.

Maybe that is why Jesus chose us! Paul wrote about this in his letter to the

Corinthians who lived in a city known for its wealthy and its wise constituents: “Not

many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many

were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;

God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly

things of this world and the despised things— and the things that are not— to nullify

the things that are so that no one can boast before him” (1 Co 1:26-29).

You have been called into the family of faith and your sins have been forgiven.

You have been called to follow Jesus’ words and ways and to live as his holy people. You

have been called to serve full-time or part-time in gospel ministry, supporting with your

time, talents and treasures the work Grace and the WELS does and speaking to others

the good news of Jesus.

There is an ocean of fish out there lacking hope, filled with fear and uncertain

about their future earthly and eternal days. There is a world of people out there

needing to hear from you that Jesus is their hope, who removes all fears and who

remains with them for now and for eternity.

God has asked you to serve! What is your answer? As we just sang, will you say,

“there is nothing I can do” or will you answer quickly, “here am I, send me, send me!”?

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