Yixing Teapots


Log in



Notes for Trinity 5 – Luke 5:1-11

by pastorjuhl ~ June 16th, 2008

Blessed Martin Luther – House Postils

There are two main points to this Gospel.  First, it tells of how with one word Christ wonderfully blessed these weary fishermen.  They had fished all night, supposedly the best, most suitable time, and caught nothing!  At noon, however, siesta time, they caught a great shoal of fish.  What a reassurance both for those disciples and for us, namely, that he will never let us perish from hunger…. Second, not only did Christ provide an abundant catch of fish for Peter and those with him in the boat, but he also ministered to them spiritually, when they were filled with fear and dread over this astounding miracle…. Into this crisis situation Christ spoke a word of comfort for all of them, and especially for Peter, “Do not be afraid!”  But then not only this gracious word, also a mysterious prediction: “Henceforth you will be a fisher of men.” (Vol. 2, p. 284)

A believer has food and drink even though he’s not the emperor; but it’s not primarily worldly blessings – great wealth, power, half the world! – God promises to his own.  What he has promised is everlasting life, and, in addition, food and drink here in this world. (p. 285)

It’s natural for us to think that we’re smarter than our Lord God. (p. 286)

Whenever reason wants to mislead us, let’s stop short and speak as follows: Reason, you go this way and that way; but I have God’s Word and command, and that’s where I’ll rest my case!  God Himself and the whole heavenly host rejoice over such a faith. (p. 287)

When we experience what Peter did, that is, toil all night catching nothing, we tend to become anxious, start to grumble, and become so discouraged that we’re ready to run away from it all.  We must not give way to such temptation but persist, no matter what, remain at our post, and let God do the worrying.  We’ve often observed that nothing seems to go right, even for good, pious, obedient children.  On the other hand, wicked and disobedient rascals seem to prosper and get ahead.  This only seems so, however.  If evil seems at first to triumph, and good to lose out, remember that in the end the situation will be completely reversed.  And so if you think that life is handing you a raw deal, hang in there and don’t let it get you down.  Even when things go badly for those who live in obedience to God’s Word, that’s still better than the other way around.  In the final analysis, God will bring judgment upon disobedience, no matter how successful it may have seemed, and will support the one who is obedient in all of his trials, and finally provide him with the highest happiness. (p. 288)

The following quote is taped on my study wall.  Pastors would do well to keep the following words of Luther close to them, especially in times of trial.

If you are a pastor engaged in preaching and teaching your people, and the response hasn’t been all that great, don’t be dismayed and diverted.  Say to yourself: God has ordered me to proclaim his Word, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.  If it doesn’t always prosper, God knows why; if my work does thrive, it pleased both him and me. (p. 288-289)

Always our heart says: I’d love to pray and trust God fully, but I’m a sinner!  How can I possibly be truly God-pleasing?  Our God is so majestic that I don’t dare approach him in prayer.  It is for such faintheartedness, fear, and hesitation that Christ has rich comfort in this Gospel.  Don’t be afraid, he says, just trust my word and come to me confidently and joyfully. (p. 289)

Just as Christ rewarded Peter with a tremendous catch of fish, as soon as his trust was wholly in the word, so he will also not forsake us in our spiritual trials, if only we will keep faith in his word…. Our sins are forgiven, not because of our deserts, but entirely by grace through his word.  That’s why we should train ourselves always to boast in and build upon the word, in prayer and otherwise, not letting our unworthiness deter us. (p. 290)

A story is told about St. Bernard that after a great sinner had made his confession, Bernard imposed five Pater Nosters as penance.  The man was literally taken aback: My lord, what do you mean by this?  I’ve committed such a great sin and you’re imposing just this small penance?  St. Bernard replied: Dear friend, do you think that your penance atones for your sins?  You’d have to live a long, long time to pay for all of them!  That’s also how we think: When we have sinned greatly, we feel that we should also do great penance.  True enough, we should indeed truly repent, confess our sins, and improve our lives, but let’s not depend upon our own repentance, worthiness, and merits, but solely upon the pure grace of God, promised us in Christ.  Apart from Christ and his word, there is no forgiveness of sin. (p. 291)

Young children have the right attitude: No anxiety about hunger and no fear regarding death.  When they die it simply means they fly up to heaven, as the angels do.  They have no fears, either in soul or body, nor do they worry about where they are going.  And that’s how we should proceed too – letting down our net at his Word – confidently!  The Word is greater than heaven and earth.  May God help us finally to learn that lesson.  Amen

Personal note: This is one of my favorite Luther sermons.  Luther is totally on point about the externum verbum against reason.  He is so pastoral in this postil.  Seek it out and be edified!

More to come….

Leave a Reply