S-1473 3SAE/3B 1/25/2015 Hymns: (O) #410; (S) #421; L.S. #313; #306; (C) #428
Texts: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Theme: “There is always time to fish” (Mark 1:16-18)
Question: “How is your fishing lately?”
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia. The text is from the Gospel lesson: “Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, He [Jesus] saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men!’ And immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:16-18).”
Beloved saints in Christ, fishermen are perhaps the greatest storytellers in the world. Together, they represent a vast storehouse of both legends and true-life experiences. Why? Because each fishing trip, each cast, and each fish caught is a unique event.
Growing up in Israel, I had a different experience of fishing. The majority of the fishing that I did as a young lad was at the Sea of Galilee and didn’t fish with rod and reel. I fished with a five gallon can that had a small 4 inch hole on top and many holes on the bottom. I placed a loaf of bread in the can, and dropped it deep into the water with a milk jug attached to the handle, to mark its location. After an hour or so, I would swim out to the deep, pick up the can and empty the fish caught.
But when I migrated to the USA I had to learn a new type of fishing. But no matter what type of fishing—whether by can, reel, spear or net there is always a story to be told. A story that is involved—a story that tells of what was caught or got away.
Remember saints we are still in the Season of Epiphany. As such the Scripture reveals to us who this Galilean Rabbi was and IS—the heaven-sent Savior. We meet Him in this text calling simple fishermen to follow Him so that they might become fishers of men. These simple Galileans left the twine and mesh and followed Him on the greatest mission to catch men instead of slippery fish. The text for today tells us of a fishing story. PAUSE.
So too, is the life of God’s child. It is a fishing story—story that tells of our walk of faith and the Fisherman—Jesus Christ, who cast us out into the sea of humanity with His Gospel net to pull them in. In the ministry of the Gospel there is always time to fish. The fish come in variety of sizes and colors. Some days the fishing is just a little better than others.
Fishing goes on daily. Sometimes the fishing is very evident as is in the story I share with you. In another state a young boy attended a camp. He came from a broken home and lived with foster parents. His family told him he wasn’t loved or wanted. While at the camp, he spent most of his time alone and didn’t mix well with other campers. The one thing he showed interest in, was spending time with the horses.
By the grace of God, this troubled boy was connected to a male counselor who ministered to him. During a Bible study one evening the leader asked the kids to open their Bibles to follow along. As the counselor looked around, he realized this boy didn’t know how to read because he had his Bible upside down.
The camp counselors’ determined to provide him a Bible on tapes/CD. The boy loved the gift of the Bible on tape and soaked it up like a sponge. He listened as often as he could and learned so much about His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This was a great opportunity to fish. There is always time to fish everywhere and anywhere. PAUSE.
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, there is always time to fish and fishing goes around here in this house of God called Redeemer Lutheran. Fishing that takes place during the Divine Service when the Word of God is proclaimed and the Sacrament is administered. Fishing is carried out when God’s people along with their pastor, in the presence of God confess their sins and receive the sweet message of forgiveness.
Fishing is being done here when the LWML ladies meet to carry on the ministry—ministry for the need of this congregation: helping families during funerals, filling the candles, changing the paraments, meals on wheels and every other gracious act of kindness.
Fishing is being fulfilled as the quilters gather monthly to make something beautiful out of used materials and give all of these gifts away in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ—the Fisherman.
Fishing is displayed in this place as the Elders, Council and Voters meet to carry on the Mission of the Church so that the Gospel may go to the ends of the earth. Fishing is conducted when the choir sings their hearts out so that the name of Jesus Christ maybe praised by all peoples everywhere. Fishing is conveyed in our Bible studies, Sunday School, VBS, youth group and midweek classes.
Throughout all of this the grace of God is being taught and fishing is taking place. For there is always time to fish! Fishing happens here and everywhere. This is our calling by Christ our Savior—Jesus Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” (The Cost of Discipleship). Because we are the children of God, we want to go fishing. Fishing with the sweet net of the Gospel as it is proclaimed. PAUSE.
Daily our prayers should be that we would bathe ourselves and soak up everything that the Word of God offers us; to be the best fishermen. No matter what type of fishing we do, we should remember that the net is provided by Christ Himself. He is the One who has called us to be His followers and gives us His net—the Gospel to be His fishermen—because in His economy there is always time to fish.
Yet, we don’t always desire to go out fishing. We complain that it is too hot, too windy, too cold or just not the right day. But this is not our calling. Our calling is like the disciples in the text. When Christ the Fisherman called them, they dropped everything and went fishing. Because of them and others who have heard the voice of the Fisherman, Jesus; you and I have been caught in the Gospel net and receive grace upon grace.
Today, beloved, we remember who we are—the called children of the heavenly Father. We have been called and caught by the Gospel net of Jesus, just like Jonah was in the O.T. lesson. The Gospel net of Jesus embraces us and saves from drowning in the sea of death, and brings us to stand forever before the Throne of Grace.
This is done freely by the sweet message of the Gospel of Jesus—the Fisherman who permitted Himself to be caught in another net—the net of evil and wicked men who bound Him not with twine; but with chains and drove nails into His hands and feet and hung Him up to dry on the wood of the cross until He dies.
But through His death, He dived into the depth of hell to announce His victory to the most evil of them all—the devil himself and rose again to new life on the 3rd day. By this mighty and gracious act of love, we have been caught in His arms and there is nothing that can separate us from His net of love.
Since we have been caught and called, we now take His net of Word and Sacrament and cast it on the hearts of others that they too, may be pulled safely to shore, be fed by Him, strengthened for the journey by Him and live under Him forever and ever.
Because of this Fisherman Jesus, who died and rose for us, we have forgiveness of sins, and brings us into His sweet net that guarantees our eternity. The symbol of the cross over us gives us all of His blessings. Blessings that knows no end because we are in His net of love. Thanks be to God, that we have been caught in His gospel net. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA