Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our gospel for today (Luke 5: 1-11) is the story of the call of the first apostles, Peter, James, and John. I want to focus on the epistle to explore the connection between the gospel and the epistle.
Our text is found in the first letter of Peter, chapter 8:
"Finally, be of one mind, compassionate, in brotherly love, merciful, friendly. Not returning evil for evil, nor curse for curse, but on the contrary, blessing; Knowing that you were called to inherit blessing in inheritance. For he who wants to love life, and to see good days, refrains his tongue from evil, and his lips do not speak deceit; Depart from evil, and do good; Look for peace and follow it."
Peter speaks of the will of God for all believers. Finally, it is said, "But if any thing you suffer because of righteousness, you are blessed. Therefore be not dismayed at their threats, nor be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ever ready to present with meekness and reverence to every one that asks you the reason of the hope that is in you.”
This is the will of God for each one of us to live, which we call the Law of God. However, our catechism says, the Law does not save us. We are only saved by faith in Jesus Christ who suffered and died on the cross for us. We are not saved by our own works, only by the grace of God.
So why do we talk about the Law? First, the Law sierva as a brake against the external acts of the evildoers. Second, to touch the heart and call all to repentance. In this two senses, the Law is for believers and non-believers alike. There is a third use of the Law only for believers: To guide us in our new lives as children of God. In Christ, God first loved us, so we can show God's love to others. But in what way? The Law teaches us. We must show the love of God to others in acts of mercy and help them in their needs.
But, there is more. "Always be prepared to present with meekness and reverence to every one that asks you the reason of the hope that is in you." Not only by deeds, to gain the admiration of others, but by words, that move others to glorify God.
In our gospel we find the call of the apostles. "And it came to pass, when Jesus was by the lake of Gennesaret, that the people were crowding about him to hear the word of God. And he saw two ships that were by the shore of the lake: and the fishermen, having come down from them, were washing their nets. And when he had entered into one of these ships, which was Simon's, he begged him to turn him away from the land a little; And sitting down, he taught the people from the ship. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Go out into the deep and cast your nets to fish. Simon answered and said to him, Master, having worked all night, we have taken nothing; But in your word I will cast the net. And having done so, they captured a great multitude of fish, so that their net was broken. Then they beckoned to the companions who were in the other boat, to come and help them; And they came, and filled both ships, so that they were about to sink. When Simon Peter saw him, he fell on his knees to Jesus, saying, Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. For fear had overcome him, and all that were with him, of the catch of the fish which they had taken. And also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were companions of Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. "
Jesus made those fishermen apostles, a word that means ambassador or representative, to baptize and make disciples. His call was to leave their businesses and their families and preach the word and administer the sacraments anywhere that it is necessary, to the ends of the earth. With these words, Jesus instituted the pastoral office, which is the continuation of the apostolic work. But, not all believers are called to do this.
All are called to bear witness to the love of God in their vocations, with their families, friends and co-workers, in words and deeds. In this way the church grows. And we want to grow the church because we have the motive of sharing the blessing of life in Christ with others.
The mission of the church is for all. The authority to proclaim the Law and the Gospel, that is, the Office of the Keys, belongs not only to the bishops of the church, but to the whole church. According to our confessions, no one can publicly preach the Word of God and administer the sacraments without a legitimate calling. This is protection against false teachers.
However, every believer is a priest, who can pray to God and intercede for others, and offer sacrifices of gratitude. In this way, everyone shares in the mission Of the church, the church grows, we have the communion of the saints now and the promise of the glory that is to come. In this is peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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