February 10, 2019

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



Old Testament Lesson; Isaiah 6:1-8

Epistle Lesson; 1 Corinthians 14:12b-20                              

Sermon Text; Luke 5:1-11


The Word of God we focus on for today is taken from Luke, chapter five, looking at the first eleven verses.  This is in Jesus' name.  God's Word says:


One time, while the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the Word of God, He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (Lake Gennesaret is another name for The Sea of Galilee.).  He saw two boats there along the lakeshore.  The fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.  Jesus got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the shore.  He sat down and began teaching the crowds from the boat.  When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water, and let down your nets for a catch.”
Simon answered Him, “Master, we worked hard all through the night and caught nothing.  But at your word I will let down the nets.”  When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets were about to tear apart.  They signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them.  They came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Go away from me, because I am a sinful man, Lord.”  For Peter and all those with him were amazed at the number of fish they had caught, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Jesus said to Simon, “Have no fear.  From now on you will be catching people.”

After they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Him.


These are your words, Heavenly Father.  Lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth.



“Have I got a fishing story to tell you today!”  Usually, when you hear those words, you are ready to hear a fishing story, aren't you?  A lot of times, as time goes on, that fishing story maybe gets stretched a little bit.  It seems greater, and greater, and greater, as time goes on. 

I am not a big fisherman.  But, I do love hearing a good, fishing story.  Back in the 1940's there was guy by the name of Louie Spray, who held the Wisconsin record for the largest Muskie caught.  But, in the late 1940's one of his buddies, Cal Johnson, caught a fish that was bigger than his. 

Louie Spray was wondering if he should give up Muskie fishing.  But, he said, “I am going to give one more crack at it.”  He made up his mind to fish during the month of October, in the year 1949, and he was going to go after that fish, one more time. 

There was a fish that people had been talking about, up in The Chippewa Flow-age.  People had seen this fish, but nobody had landed it, before.  It became known as Chin Whiskered Charlie. 

Louie decided he was going to go after Chin Whiskered Charlie.  He was going to fish every day, during the month of October. 

Unfortunately, during the first twenty days, he was skunked.  But, on the 20th day of October, when a cold front was coming through, the warm weather was turning colder, and the rain was starting to turn to snow, he put a fourteen inch sucker on a forty two pound test line, using a Union Hardware Rod, and Cycloid Casting Reel.  He threw the bait under some sunken logs.  And, Chin Whiskered Charlie hit! 

After thirty to forty five minutes of battling with that fish, he hauled it in.  That fish was five feet, three and a half inches long!  It was sixty nine pounds and eleven ounces in weight!  And to date, here in Wisconsin, it continues to be the largest Muskie fish ever caught.

Our text for today is a fishing story.  But, it begins much like the past couple of weeks, in which Pastor Bartels was talking about Jesus' preaching.  Pastor Bartels was reminding us that Jesus had authority in His preaching.  People were just listening to the words of Jesus.  And, that is how our text for today starts out.  The people so wanted to hear Jesus that they were pressing in on Jesus.  That is when He asked to get into one of the fisherman's boats, so He would go out into the water just a little bit.  It would become this natural ampi-theater for Jesus to teach, and preach to the people.  We see the authority Jesus had in His preaching.

Well, that is when Jesus says to Peter, “Let's go fishing.”  What we are going to see today is this.  We are in the middle of The Epiphany Season right now.  The Epiphany Season is a reminder to us of who Jesus is.  The word 'epiphany' means 'to reveal', or 'to make known'.  Every time we see Jesus performing a miracle, it is to reveal to us, it is to tell us who Jesus is - that He, Jesus, is God.  We are going to see from our text for today that Jesus has all authority, even over nature.

And so, Jesus tells Peter, “Let's go fishing.  Peter, here is what I want you to do.  I want you to go out into the deep part of the lake.  I want you to cast your net in the deep part of the lake in the middle of the day.”

Well, this is Peter's vocation.  He was a fisherman.  The advice of Jesus went against all fishing logic.  On the Sea of Galilee you would fish in the middle of the night.  You would sleep during the day.  And, you would fish in the shallow areas.  You would not fish out in the deep water.  It went against all fishing logic.  And yet, what did Peter say?  He said, “At your Word Lord, we will cast down the net.  At your Word Lord, we will cast down our nets.”

By doing so, Jesus was being trusted by Peter.  Peter was trusting in the words of Jesus.  And really, that is what The First Commandment is all about.  That is what we say in The Explanation.  “We fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”  To trust in God above all things, to trust in Jesus above all things is to rely on Jesus' Word, and His promises. 

Jesus said, “...let down your nets...” 

What did Peter say?  “ your Word I will...”

Proverbs three, verse five says this about trusting in God's promises.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding.”

What happened?  Peter cast the net.  Scripture tells us there was a great catch of fish.  The catch was so great that the nets began to tear.  And the catch was so great that when Peter signaled his buddies to come over in another boat (James and John), both of their boats were beginning to sink!

Wow!  Our text for today reveals to us who Jesus is.  It is almost as if it's telling us the prophesy from Psalm, chapter eight.  Psalm chapter eight was written by King David.  It was written a thousand years before Jesus lived.  And you can almost hear it being fulfilled, as I read it.  I am going to read part of it, and substitute one word.  Listen to these words, and think about our text for today.  Psalm eight says,

“Oh LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name

in all of the earth! 

You made Him (Jesus)

a little lower than the heavenly beings

and you crowned Him with glory and honor. 

You made Him ruler over the works of Your hands,

and put everything under His feet. 

The fish of the sea and all that swim the paths of the seas. 

Oh LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”

We see Jesus has authority over nature and it reveals to us who He is.  He has authority over the fish of the sea.  And, it tells us He is God.

Somebody once said, “The closer a person comes to God, the more they realize their own unworthiness, and their own sinfulness.”

The closer we come to God

the more we realize our own unworthiness and sinfulness.

What was Peter's response to the miracle that had just happened?  Peter's response was he fell at Jesus' feet, and said, “Go away from me, because I am a sinful man, Lord.”  Peter realized his unworthiness, and his sinfulness. 

Think about our Old Testament Lesson for today.  God called Isaiah to be a prophet.  When God called Isaiah to be a prophet, what was his response?  He realized it was God who was calling him.  Isaiah said, “I am doomed.  I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips.” 

Back in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, when Abraham was pleading for the city, he was pleading God would save the city for fifty righteousness people, forty, thirty, twenty, and finally ten righteous people.  He realized he was in the presence of God.  At the end of his prayer to God he simply said, “I am but dust, and ashes.”  He realized his unworthiness.

During the course of Job's life, (The book of Job is forty two chapters long.  And the book of Job is all about his interactions with God and some of his friends), at the end of the book of Job he simply says, “I repent in dust and ashes.”  The closer he came to God, the more he realized his unworthiness and his sinfulness.

Sometimes even in the secular world, people have come to this conclusion.  I don't mean to bring up anything bad here, but it happened in the football world, just a couple of weeks ago.  Some of you were watching as the Los Angeles Rams went to New Orleans to play the Saints.  At the end of the game, there was a controversial 'no call' that took place.  For those of you who were watching, you may know what I am talking about.  Some people thought it cheated the Saints out of going to the Super Bowl.  So much so, that you maybe even heard this.  Some of New Orleans boycotted watching the Super Bowl. 

One of the tight ends for the New Orleans Saints said this.  I am not going to give the whole quote, but just a part of it that ties in here.  He said, “We all realize football is an imperfect game, played by imperfect people, coached by imperfect people, and officiated by imperfect people.”

What he was saying is basically what Peter is saying in our text for today.  It is really the conclusion we have to come to as well, when we realize the closer we come to God, the more we realize our unworthiness, and our own sinfulness to the point that all we can say is, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Now, earlier I had said that from a fishing perspective, the advice Jesus had given went against fishing logic.  He told Peter to fish in the middle of the day.  He told Peter to fish in the deep water.  Peter simply said, “ your Word I will let down the  nets.”

From a worldly perspective, what The Bible says about our getting to Heaven goes against human logic.  It goes against human logic, because the world likes to say people are good.  “You believe what you believe, and I will believe what I believe, and everybody is going to make it to Heaven.” 

And yet, when we look at the authority of scripture, the authority of scripture goes against human logic.  And yet, the authority of scripture is true.

Consider these three things Jesus said.  Jesus was once visiting with His disciples.  He was bringing comfort to them, when He said,

“I am the way, and the truth, and life. 

No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus once was visiting with a man who came to Him in the middle of the night.  He said to him,

“God so loved the world,

that He gave His One and only Son. 

That whoever believes in Him,

shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus was once visiting with a lady whose brother had died.  Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection, and the life. 

Whoever believes in me will live

even though they die. 

And whoever lives and believes in me

will never die.”

The authority of scripture, from Jesus' own mouth is there saying that whoever believes in Jesus, as their Savior, will be saved.

What comfort we take from the words, and authority of Jesus!

I wonder what Peter was thinking that day, when Jesus said, “Let's go fishing.”

I am sure there were different emotions Peter was thinking about. 

First of all, the advice Jesus had given, that went against all fishing logic.  I am sure Peter at first was thinking, “Jesus, you are crazy.  We fished all night long.  We have not caught any fish.”

But, when they cast the net, and they were filled with fish, I am sure Peter was thinking, “Wow, Lord.  This is incredible!”

And, from a fishing perspective, Peter had a story to tell for the rest of his life, didn't he?  For the rest of his life he would be able to say, “You wouldn't believe what happened to me the day I went fishing with Jesus!”

Ultimately, it led him to think of his own unworthiness, before Jesus. 

But, that is not the greatest fishing story ever told.  After Jesus ascended into Heaven, ten days later on Pentecost, Peter was in Jerusalem.  He was preaching a sermon.  He was 'casting the net of God's Word out', and the Holy Spirit was working through that Word.  You know what happened?  Three thousand people came to faith to believe in Jesus, as their Savior.

It wasn't Peter’s catch of fish that was the greatest story ever told.  It was the catching of three thousand people for The Kingdom.  Three thousand people that day realized their own unworthiness, their own sinfulness.  They looked to Jesus, as their Savior, who had lived for them, who had died for them, who had risen for them, and who had forgiven them of all of their sins.

We too, today, have the privilege of 'casting the net of the Gospel', so we can catch people for The Kingdom.  That is what Jesus said to Peter at the end of our text for today.  You will no longer catch fish. 

“From now on you will be catching people.”  

The Greek verb there really has the idea of catching alive.  You will be catching people alive for The Kingdom. 

So, you know what is the greatest fishing story ever?  The greatest fishing story ever is when you and I share God's Word.   As we share God's Word, and the Holy Spirit works through that Word, and they come to faith to believe in Jesus, as their Savior, people are caught for The Kingdom.  That is the greatest fishing story ever told!