Summary: Year C Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany February 4th, 2001

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Year C Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany February 4th, 2001

Lord of the Lake Lutheran Church

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By The Rev. Jerry Morrissey, Esq., Pastor


Heavenly Father, “I am a sinful person,” thank you for sending Jesus to pay for my sins by his death on the cross. Amen.

Title: “I am a sinful person.”

Luke 5: 1-11

Simon and his companions, after listening to Jesus teach, obeyed his command to fish one more time, resulting in a large catch. Jesus then calls them “to catch men,” whereby they leave all and follow him.

This story set before the resurrection and John 21: 1-14 set after the resurrection share so many details that they are probably different interpretations of the same event: the call of Simon. In both accounts, after fishing all night, the disciples have caught nothing. Jesus commands them to let the nets down. They do so and make an enormous catch. The effect on the nets is noted. Peter reacts to the miracle. Jesus is called “Lord.” The other fishermen present say nothing. In both, the motif of following Jesus is present, and the catch of fish is symbolic of missionary success. These two versions give us a clue to the formation of the gospel accounts. The writers use the same material, but place it in different settings for their own theological reasons.

Similarly, in Acts there are three accounts of Paul’s conversion experience each one similar, yet different. Be it Peter’s call or the foundational call to establish the Church upon Peter’s confession, the order of post-resurrection appearances of Jesus or other differences in the Gospels, Acts and Epistles, the differences in details and locales illustrate that these are eye-witness accounts at heart and so they will depend on the powers of recollection of the source. They were passed on for years and so would undergo variation in the passage. Finally, the writers would put the passed-on stories at the service of their overriding perspective and use them to teach truth even at the expense of correctness, a sort of “poetic license.”

In verse one, listening to the word of God: By Luke’s time “word of God” was a synonym for “Gospel,” good news. Simon and everyone else is called after truly listening to the words of Jesus.

Lake of Gennesaret: Luke always calls this body of water a lake, whereas the other evangelists follow the Old Testament and call it a sea. It is 13 miles by 7 miles and 700 feet below sea level. Only here is it called “Gennesaret”; elsewhere it is called “Galilee” and Chinneroth in Old Testament and Tiberias twice in John.

In verse two, washing their nets: After a night’s fishing the nets would be washed out and hung up to dry.

In verse three boat: This would be an open craft some 20 to 30 feet long. It provided a platform free from the congestion of the crowd. According to custom the speaker sat and listeners stood.

Crowd: Luke presumably regarded the crowd as dispersing before the following miracle. At any rate they disappear from the scene. The story has been so condensed that it contains a number of inconcinnity’s, perhaps because two or more sources have been conjoined.

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