Sermon on 18th Sunday Luke 5:1-11 2023/10/8 Osaka Church
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Avoiding the crowd who followed him, the Lord Jesus got into a small boat and spoke to the people from a short distance. After He had finished speaking, and the crowd had gone home, the Lord said to Simon Peter, who had provided the boat, saying, “Go out to sea and cast your net.”
Peter answered. “We worked all night, but we couldn’t get anything.”
Peter’s feelings are something we are all familiar with. After working so hard, enduring patiently, what do we have to show for it now? We may indeed have jobs, families, and some semblance of a place in society, but everything seems to have been swept away by the changing circumstances of the moment. We’ve been pushed and molded by external forces, and we’ve never truly smiled from the depths of our hearts. Perhaps, when faced with death, we might also say, “I worked hard all night and didn’t catch anything.”
Peter must have listened intimately to the words of the Lord that day as He spoke to him from the boat, perhaps with his hand on the helm. Those words may have moved his heart, and his eyes may have been opened, but he would not have connected the words of the Lord to his work as a fisherman. What the Lord says is certainly admirable, but it is I who am in charge of my own work and life, and I, as a fisherman, know best about the work of a fisherman. He likely thought, “Going out into the deep water and letting down the nets won’t work. Some things are just not meant to be.”
However, even though Peter muttered, “Well, I’ll do it,” he said, “Well, since you said so, I’ll do it for you. If that is what you want.” He followed the Lord’s command and rowed out into the sea and cast a net. Then, guess what, the catch was so big that the net was about to burst. One small boat was not enough, and he had to call in another boat. Peter was upset and fell at his feet, saying, “Depart from me, Lord! I am a sinner.”
This is where Peter’s life changed. He pulled the boat ashore, set up the nets, and they became disciples of Christ. A major change in their lives began when they first tried to follow the Lord’s words. The pride of being an experienced fisherman was shattered by Christ. Once that pride is torn away, he is forced to realize that he is completely naked, has nothing, and is nothing. That’s why Peter couldn’t help but blurt out, “I am sinful.” But right in front of him was Christ.
We must not only listen but also act. If the Lord tells you to love your enemies, forgive your enemies, and pray for your enemies, then do it. If you are taught not to judge others, then stop judging without any exceptions. If you are commanded to give up attachment to money and possessions, give up all those things. If you are warned not to be anxious, then let go of worrying. All of this is extremely difficult to actually do. But at least we must have an indomitable fighting spirit. Christ our God does not demand results. It is the will to stand up again and again that will be blessed. Believe that, and above all, believe in the power of prayer, and try it.
If you do that, something will definitely change from the deepest part of yourself. Like Peter, who called for his companion’s boat, it brings an overflowing fruit that cannot be carried by one person and must be shared with others.
When we realize that this harvest is a gift of love from Christ to us, who dared to “give it a try,” we will not only acknowledge our own powerlessness and foolishness but also be transformed into someone who lives in the joy that no difficulty can take away. We will become one with Christ, who blesses our small, earnest attempts, and we will live in the unshakable joy of His presence.