Summary: A sermon for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany The call of Peter
5th Sunday after the Epiphany
"At Your Word"
5:1 ¶ While the people pressed upon 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 ceased 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 great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,
7 they beckoned 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 was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which 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; henceforth you will be catching men."
11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.RSV
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. amen
Our gospel lesson is the similar story in Luke’s gospel of Jesus calling his first four disciples.
Jesus had been preaching to the people. The crowd had become so large that Jesus was forced from the shore into the water. He saw two boats which were empty as the fishermen were cleaning their nets after a night of fishing. Jesus asked the owner of the boat if he would put the boat out a little way in the water so he could continue his preaching.
Peter was polite add id as Jesus asked. So Jesus boarded the boat, Peter rowed a little from shore and Jesus began to preach.
Some time later, Jesus finished preaching. We don’t know if he finished because the people left, or if he was done for the day. What ever the case, Jesus was through preaching.
So imagine that Peter was getting ready to row the boat ashore and get back to cleaning his nets when Jesus asked a peculiar question.
Jesus said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
Jesus would have known that the men had fished all night long as he came upon them as they were cleaning their nets. Jesus might have seen they had not caught very many fish, but he asks Peter to go out into deeper water and cast out the nets to catch more fish.
Not Peter had taken Jesus at his word when he asked if he could use the boat to preach from. He had no trouble in following that request. But this one? This was unusual. Peter was probably tired. He had been up all night. He had listen to Jesus preach for probably hours and all he wanted was to finish cleaning his nets and go to bed.
So out of frustration, out of confusion, Peter says to Jesus: "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! " Peter was probably thinking we toiled all night and caught no fish and now you want us to go back out to sea and do it again? He probably thought this, but we know his actions were different.