Epiphany 5
February 4, 2001
Luke 5:1-11 & Isaiah 6:1-8 
"Let's go Fishing!"

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Introduction: How is it that we go after others to make them Christians? We can't force them to follow Christ. What will make someone turn from sin to Christ? How do you get people oriented toward God and become serious about Christ? In our Old Testament and Gospel lessons for this day we see a common patter that gives us the answer.  How is it that we are to become fishers of men?

1.         A recognition of the Divine - Isaiah 6:1-4; Luke 5:11-8

It is a coming into direct experience with God. Isaiah tells us at the beginning of his prophecy: "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up" The leper upon seeing Jesus said: "Lord, if you will you can make me clean!" Both saw the presence of God. With their own eyes they saw the very power and majesty of God Almighty. Isaiah saw it in the temple. The leper saw in Jesus, that He had the power to heal and save.

How can we get sinners to have this encounter? There is only one way to do this. They must be exposed and connected to the Word of God. Only when the Word is presented to us will people have an exposure to encounter God. We present to people not the church, not a community, not an organization or a structure but Jesus Christ. St. Paul simply says "I determine to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified!"

2.         A realization of sin - Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8-10

Peter simply says to Jesus: "depart from me Jesus for I am a sinful man!" Isaiah says: "woe is me for I am a man with unclean lips and I live among a people with unclean lips"

In a time when sin has lost is meaning and has been ignored by calling sin something other than sin, the clue to a realization of sin is standing in the presence of greatness, holiness, majesty. In contrast man sees his smallness, impurity, and unworthiness. We need to become brutally and bluntly honest with ourselves confessing our sin, and then in faith turning to Christ for pardon and peace so that He can restore and redeem us.

3.         A response of surrender - Isaiah 6:8; Luke 5:10-11

Isaiah responds to the Lord by simply saying: "here am I send me, send me" James and John upon hearing the command of Jesus we are told that they "brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him"

All that one can do after seeing the greatness of God and receiving gifts (Isaiah - forgiveness; Peter - miracle of fish) is to volunteer to serve and sacrifice all to follow Christ. Is this not the source of Christian service? Is this not the answer to getting people to work in the church and to serve in the world?

What would you do for Christ today? Are you willing and able to serve? May we respond in faith to the Father's call.  Like Isaiah may we say "Here am I send me!" Like James and John may we forsake this world to follow Christ. Today His mercy calls you. May you respond according to the Savior's tender invitation.

+ Soli Deo Gloria+