Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Who of you have seen a circus? The wonders of the circus includes lions, bears, horses, magicians, acrobats and tightrope walkers. An tightrope walker walks on a rope or cable high above the ground, maybe 20 meters or more. Sometimes they uses a safety net, in case they fall. But the most daring tightrope walkers do not use a net to better demonstrate their incredible sense of balance. They have a lot of faith in their own abilities.
Last Sunday, July 23, 2013, a tightrope walker circus did something amazing outside the circus tent. Nik Wallenda crossed the Grand Canyon in the USA on a cable 5 centimeters thick, a walk of 400 meters. The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep gorge carved by the Colorado River in northern Arizona. It is about 446 kilometers long, between mountain ranges 6 to 29 kilometers wide and reaches depths of over 1,600 feet, or nearly two miles. Obviously, he did not use a net.
Well, there were eyewitnesses and video recordings of this event. We must believe a man can cross the Grand Canyon, because of the evidence. Now, think about this. Is it possible for a tightrope walker to cross the Grand Canyon pushing a wheelbarrow? Maybe. If a man can walk a cable of 5 centimeters, perhaps he cn push a wheelbarrow the same distance. But, what if the tightrope walker asks you to sit in the wheelbarrow? Would you have enough faith in him to do so?
It's the same with God. There is evidence for the existence of God. The creation testifies to the power of God. The Holy Scriptures testify that God has done wonders in the past. Therefore, many people think it is possible that God exists. However, as many people recognize a tightrope walker's skills, but do not want to put their lives in his hands, many do not want to put their lives in God's hands. How to obtain this confidence?
In our text for today, we read something about a meeting between San Pedro and our Lord. "It happened, while He was beside the lake of Gennesaret, the crowd was pressing in on Him to hear the Word of God. And He saw two ships standing by the shore of the lake, but the fishermen were gone out of them and were washing their nets. And He entered into one of these boats, which was Simon's, and He asked him to put out from the land a bit, and He sat down and taught the crowd from the boat. "
Jesus stood on the shore of the lake, but the crowds were everywhere, so it was impossible for him to speak to the people effectively. He looked around for some way to fix the situation, saw two fishing boats on the shore. Jesus, having met the men before, did not hesitate to enter one of the two boats belonging to Simon Peter. He then asked him to put out some distance from the shore. From His elevated position in the boat, He was in command of the audience and could talk with them without difficulty.
And when he finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." He addressed Simon, who was probably at the helm, with a unique request, it sounded like a arbitrary requirement. Peter must take his ship to the place where the sea was deep, far from shore. These first words were addressed to Peter, as the captain of the ship, but the second part, describing how to take the fish, was addressed to all the men in the boat. Thus Jesus took charge of the boat and turned it to His disposal, as if He owned it. It was a test of faith and trust in the Lord for Peter.
"And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we toiled all night and caught nothing, but at Thy word I will let down the net."
Simon's response indicated the greatest respect for the man who so unceremoniously took charge of their affairs. He calls him Master, the Greek word used for one who was responsible for certain people or businesses, a title of respect that did not involve a personal relationship. He does not register an objection, but merely stated as a fact that they had worked hard all night and caught nothing. They had offered their services at the time and under the conditions which experience had shown to be the most favorable, at night, and on the banks of the lake, not far from the shore. But the whole experience and the knowledge of a fisherman Peter was willing to sacrifice and put his faith in the words of Jesus.
"And having done this, they trapped a great multitude of fish: and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them and they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. " Peter showed little faith, but was richly rewarded.
"Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus, saying: Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinner. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, because of the catch of fish they had taken, and likewise James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. "
It was the first time Peter had been brought so close to Christ's omnipotence that he could judge as to his greatness and majesty. The miracle took place in his boat, with his own net, after his own unsuccessful efforts. And so he delivers his cry of confession and faith, Depart from me. This show of the omnipotence of Jesus was a proof of his divinity. And the divine Christ is a holy, sinless Christ. Peter felt too utterly unworthy to remain longer in the presence of the Master. And the rest of the party who were partners with Simon in the fishing business were in the same condition. Almost afraid to trust the evidence of their senses.
But Jesus spoke comforting words to Peter, “Do not be afraid. From now on, you shall be fishers of men.” This should be your permanent occupation, your life should be spent in casting the Gospel net drawing redeemed hearts into the kingdom of Christ.
That is, Jesus told Peter and the others to follow him and live without the nets of their profession because he had a greater purpose for their lives. This is the account in the Gospel of Luke of the call of the apostles. God has not called all of us to be apostles, or to leave our families and our businesses. However, God has called all of us to live without nets, ie to rely completely on Him for all our needs and for our security.
This faith is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus, when Peter confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven . " (Matthew 16:16-17) The Father and the Son have sent the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and hearts with the Word of God and to establish us in the true faith through holy baptism.
God only needs one grain of faith to do miracles in our lives. In the death and resurrection of Christ, and the promise of our baptism, God has shown His love and that He has a purpose for our lives. Sometimes, like Peter, we may be scared by the possibilities of what God can do with our lives. However, if we stay in the Word and the sacraments, faith will grow, and more and more we will trust in the Lord.
May the peace that passes all understanding be with each of you forever. Amen.
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