“Look to Jesus and be Astonished”

Posted on 22 Apr 2020, Pastor: Randy Sturzenbecher

Luke 5:1-11 English Standard Version (ESV)


Jesus Calls the First Disciples
5 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word, I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

Midweek Sermon on Luke 5:1-11      April 22nd, 2020

Astonished. 

I can’t get over the mental picture.   Jesus has been preaching to the crowd in a borrowed boat.  He tells the owner, Peter, a seasoned fisherman, by the way,  to go out into the deep water and let down their nets in the middle of the day.  Any fisherman worth his salt knows you don’t catch fish in the middle of the day, but he listens. 

The nets are full and busting.  They pull them in and there are too many fish for one boat. Peter calls his partners, James, and John. You know them as the “sons of thunder”.  They bring a second boat that is also filled.   The boats draft so low in the water, because of all the fish, one good wave would sink them.

Here is the part that gets me.   The boat could capsize at any minute and Peter drops down to Jesus’ knees.  Can you see it?  Peter bowing low in front of Jesus.  Fish flopping all around him and his face is almost in them.  

Why would he do that?  He has a huge payday in the boat and he does not try to protect it.   He could lose his boat and all his equipment and he is not concerned.  The fish flopping around him, splashing and his only concern is to bow before Jesus. 

Peter recognized something profound.  It’s something every follower of Jesus has to realize.   Peter says, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  In the presence of Jesus’ teaching and miracle Peter sees Jesus as Savior and he sees himself as a sinner.

Peter, James, and John have been called into the Holy Ministry.  They are not Bible Scholars.  They are not white collar.  They are not polished or polite or professional and we know Peter has no patience.    The term cuss like a sailor, or fisherman,….. may very well apply.

This should comfort us.  Jesus saves sinners.  Jesus saves and calls sinners to be his followers.  Jesus saves and calls ordinary men women and children to faith and that changes them.  It changes us. 

When Peter and the other fisherman were in the boat and were told to put out into the deep water and let down there nets I’m sure there were questions running through their minds.   Here?   Now?  Ok but don’t expect much.  

When they tugged on the nets the first time the doubts were gone.   They knew something miraculous just happened.  Luke tells us they were astounded.  They could not believe it.  If they would have done this on their own without Jesus’ command they would have attributed it to dumb luck.  But now there was no way to get around what Jesus said and what had happened. 

That’s why Peter bowed with his face in the fish.  He knew Jesus’ power, and he knew how unworthy he was.   And yet how did Jesus respond to Peter?  “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”  Peter was not excluded for his sin, for his lack of training in being a fisher of men.  He was not told to go and clean up your act and come back and reapply for disciple.   He was directed to stop looking at his sin and everything that should disqualify him and look to Jesus. 

That’s how Jesus changes us.   He pulls our eyes off of everything we think we should do or we think we have to do and focus us on Himself. 

Jesus says to Peter “Don’t be afraid.”  Don’t be afraid Peter I will pay for your sin with my death.   Don’t be afraid Peter, I will supply for your needs of soul and body as a Fisher of Men.  That changed Peter.

Jesus says the same thing to us. He draws our eyes for Salvation and daily strength from ourselves, and our own actions, to Him.   

Don’t be afraid, dear child of God I have forgiven that sin that is tearing you apart. 

Don’t be afraid dear child of God, I will supply for your needs and you will be astonished. 

Don’t be afraid dear Child of God when you are called to be Sunday School teachers, or work with the youth.  Don’t be afraid, when you are asked to serve on the Elders or the Stewardship committee, I will form and shape and equip you just like I did Peter and James and John. 

It’s easy to be astonished when we look at Jesus.  He is God after all.   If we are not astonished when we come into His presence, when we look to the cross and see how He laid down His life for sinners,… and then took it up again after taking away all our sin,… we are not seeing Jesus for who He truly is.    

It’s also easy to be discouraged because of who we are.  We are sinners who deny just like Peter.  We’re Thomas who can’t wrap his head around what’s going on so it’s easier just to not believe.   We are the Easter disciples locked in our houses and fearing the virus, the job furlow, and maybe even our own death.

Dear child of God lift your eyes out of your sin your worry and your fear and look to Jesus.  Suffering and Crucifixion did not stop Him from loving you from sinner to saint.  Death could not hold Him and because of Jesus’ resurrection it can’t hold you.  When all the disappointments and discouragement pull us down,……   Jesus calls to us just like He did to Peter.  Do not be afraid.  Look to Jesus because He died for sinners.   He died for you.  

 

Thank God there is no entrance exam to be a child of God.  That is why over and over again you hear me say its all GIFT.  The waters of Baptism are a gift that gives faith and directs our eyes to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  His Holy word breaks into our darkness with Easter words of Do not be afraid, not only from the angel but from Jesus Himself.  His real presence in the Holy Supper assures us our Lord is here with us. Pulling our eyes from our sin and fear to His victory. 

Jesus changes us.  He changes us from sinner to saint.  He changes us from fisherman to fisher of men.  He changes us from layman or woman to church officer or someone in leadership.   He changes us from someone that is all caught up in the trouble of this world to one who is at Peace in Jesus.  Jesus changes us and gives us hope.    

In the Name of +Jesus+ Amen.