February 10, 2019
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
When was the last time you saw a miracle? I see miracles each and every day…and not just because I’m a Pastor. In fact I have seen miracles already this very morning. I woke up this morning and even on time. I got to Church on time! I got to pet my cat and kiss my wife and sons before leaving for Church. These may not seem like all that big of an event…all of us here woke up this morning…many of us saw our pets and I’m sure many husbands kissed their wives and parents kissed their children. Seems like ordinary stuff doesn’t it? But the truth is that all of these are miracles…we just don’t realize it very often. We don’t think about our every breath as being a miracle of life. We don’t think of our pets as being a miracle of creation. We don’t think about our loved ones as being miracles…but believe you me…it is a miracle for some of us to be loved at times! What we do think of as miracles are huge, stupendous, extra-ordinary, life changing events that make us marvel…like the miracles that occurred in our readings this morning.
Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne, angels flying around each other, rejoicing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The angels were so loud that the doorposts and the thresholds shook. Peter, a fisherman, had spent the entire night out on the lake and didn’t catch a single thing only to have Jesus tell him to put down the nets and catch so many fish that it almost sank the boat. Now those are what we call miracles! They are fantastic; they are amazing and for many they are too extraordinary and could never have happened.
What Isaiah and Peter witnessed was indeed amazing. They were more than awe struck…they were afraid. They were afraid of being in the presence of God. They were afraid because they knew their failures and sins. They didn’t make excuses. When coming face to face with God Isaiah responded “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”When Simon Peter saw the great catch of fish, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
To fall at someone’s knees in a sinking boat is truly remarkable. Simultaneously Peter recognizes that this humble carpenter is the Lord of heaven and earth. This was a miracle wrought for Peter, in his own boat, in his own profession, of a kind so phenomenal that it brought home to Peter the realization that he had come face to face with God, he a wretched sinner in the presence of his Lord and Savior.
In our own lives we ignore the miracles God provides to us daily. There are so many blessings that we take for granted. We expect to wake up in the morning, we expect that the lights will turn on, we expect water for drinking, bathing, and using, we expect the world to keep turning…keep on going. Every day is a routine…we follow it blindly…we find comfort in it…and we forget that God is doing it all. We should be the ones falling on our knees as we receive the wonderful gifts of God that we don’t deserve.
Isn’t it amazing to behold what God gives to us? Like Peter, God gives us more fish than we know what to do with. Jesus also gives us his own body and blood…placed on your lips…and your guilt is taken away and your sin is forgiven. God gives us a house and home, family, friends, and good neighbors, a job, a calling, a desire to do our best, food, clothing…and so much more. God continues to give…even when we aren’t thankful. When we behold the power of God we, like Peter and Isaiah, abound with fear.
The fearful one is told not to fear. Our Gospel text tells us that fear and awe took hold of Peter and his companions. That is the reaction of sinful man in the presence of God. The shepherds at Bethlehem were fearful when the angels appeared. On Easter the women were fearful when the angels appeared. Because of his lost condition sinful man always fears in God’s presence. But God takes no pleasure in the fear of man. The words: “Fear not” or “Quit being afraid” occur many times in the OT and the NT. What does this mean? It means that God forgives the sinner. God removes the fear of the sinner by forgiving his sin. Forgiveness takes away man’s guilt. Then fear disappears. That’s what Jesus did for the disciples.
Jesus takes sinners…and forgives them. Jesus loves the sinner so much that he died on the cross for them…for us. Jesus makes us his own and then sends us, imperfect, ungrateful, forgiven people out into the world. Jesus sends us to share His love and the wonderful news of salvation to all people. We are tools in the hands of God for the working of salvation to all people. That is a wonderful blessing…that is an amazing miracle.
But maybe you don’t think you’re worthy or capable of sharing Christ with others. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll offend someone, hurt someone’s feelings, or ruin relationships by sharing Christ. There are many “reasons” that people have for not sharing Christ with others. Listen up! God works despite our shortcomings.
Have you ever heard of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Tamar, Rahab, King David, Solomon, or Rehoboam? Abraham told a King that found Abraham’s wife attractive that his wife was really his sister out of fear the King would kill him. Isaac did the same thing with his wife as his father Abraham. Jacob stole his brother Esau’s blessing. Judah slept with his daughter in law Tamar thinking she was a prostitute. Tamar lied to her father in law Judah and disguised herself as a prostitute to trick him. Rahab was a prostitute. King David committed adultery and murder. Solomon had 700 wives, 300 concubines, and lost his faith in God. Rehoboam caused the Kingdom of Israel to split because of his wickedness and cruelty.
And what do all these people have in common? They were all sinners. But they have yet another link. “Listed in the ancestry of Jesus are prostitutes, murderers, adulterers, and a bunch of people who did all kinds of bad, wicked, and evil things recorded in the Bible. Yet it was in spite of and through these people that God fulfilled His promise to bring salvation to all mankind in Jesus Christ. All this shows us that even when people and situations are so bad, God is good and God works through His people.”
As you get ready to leave this place as forgiven, blessed, and hope filled people… as you are given many wonderful opportunities to share God’s love…hear the voice of the Lord speaking to you this very day, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Let us by faith respond by saying Lord, “Here am I, Send me!” And know…that the Lord will use you to share His love and bring others to faith in Christ. Amen.
Now may the peace of God that passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.