Trinity 5: Jesus Makes Fishers of Men
O God, You have prepared for those who love You good things that surpass all understanding. Pour into our hearts such love towards You that we, loving You above all things, may obtain Your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We hear the Word of the Lord:
Psalm for the Day: Psalm 27:1, 11-12, 14
Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:11-21
Gradual: Psalm 84:9-8
Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8-15
The Verse: Psalm 21:1
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
The Lord called fishermen to be fishers of men (Luke 5:1–11). The net they would use is the message of the cross, which is foolishness and a stumbling block to the world (1 Cor. 1:18–25). The power of God to save is not in spectacular signs like wind and fire and earthquakes (1 Kings 19:11–21), nor is it to be found in human intelligence and wisdom. The power of God to save comes in the still, small voice of the preaching of Christ crucified. In worldly darkness the disciples could catch nothing. But in the light of Christ, whose Word was attached to the water, the boats were filled with fish. So it is that in Baptism you have been drawn in to the ship of the Church. Though the nets are breaking and some who hear the Word do not believe, pastors continue to cast the net of the Gospel and the Sacraments, that Christians may abide in the boat of the Church and that we may be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:8–15).
Luther on the Gospel lesson:
Here you see how a man is delivered from spiritual poverty and distress, that is, how, through Christ’s Word, he obtains forgiveness of sins and peace of conscience together with grace and increase of spiritual gifts, without any merit or worthiness of his own but only through the grace of Christ. It is in this respect as it was with the temporal miracle of the draught of fishes, which the disciples did not secure by reason of their toil, and which was not given to them before they had labored and striven in vain, and had despaired of taking anything. And yet, as Christ on that occasion does not forbid their laboring, but commands them to let down their nets for a draught, so now he does not abolish works. Although Peter does not deserve grace and forgiveness by what he does, but receives forgiveness and grace freely, yet the Lord will not permit him to dispense with all work and effort. Yea, he assigns to him the duty and business of bringing the same blessings to others, and, in the assignment of this duty, comforts him with the assurance that the necessary power and blessing shall be added. “For,” says he, “I will make thee a fisher of men.” Thus are the two parts rightly taught, namely, that faith deserves nothing by its works, and yet, that it performs all sorts of works in its station and calling, according to the word and command of God. [Source: Luther’s Church Postil: Volume IV:142-166, of The Sermons of Martin Luther, published by Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI, 1983)
Here is the text of BWV 88
|Cantata for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity|
|Erster Teil 1. Arie B
Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden, spricht der Herr, die sollen sie fischen. Und darnach will ich viel Jäger aussenden, die sollen sie fahen auf allen Bergen und allen Hügeln und in allen Steinritzen.
|Part One 1. Arie B
Behold, I will send out many fishers, says the Lord, which shall angle for them. And afterwards I will send out many hunters, who shall pursue them upon all the mountains and all the hills and in all the rocky crevices.
|2. Rezitativ T
Wie leichtlich könnte doch der Höchste uns entbehren
Und seine Gnade von uns kehren,
Wenn der verkehrte Sinn sich böslich von ihm trennt
Und mit verstocktem Mut
In sein Verderben rennt.
Was aber tut
Sein vatertreu Gemüte?
Tritt er mit seiner Güte
Von uns, gleich so wie wir von ihm, zurück,
Und überlässt er uns der Feinde List und Tück?
|2. Recitative T
How easily could the Highest do without us
and turn His grace from us,
when the perverted mind wickedly separates from Him
and with stubborn will
races to its destruction.
However what does
His Fatherly will do?
Does He walk away from us with His goodness,
just like we have from Him,
and abandon us to the deceit and trickery of the enemy?
|3. Arie T
Nein, Gott is allezeit geflissen,
Uns auf gutem Weg zu wissen
Unter seiner Gnade Schein.
Ja, wenn wir verirret sein
Und die rechte Bahn verlassen,
Will er uns gar suchen lassen.
|3. Aria T
No, God is always concerned
to make us know the good path
through the light of His grace.
Indeed, when we are lost
and have left the right path,
He will have us searched for.
|Zweiter Teil 4. Rezitativ T – Arie B
Jesus sprach zu Simon:
Fürchte dich nicht; den von nun an wirst du Menschen fahen. (Luke 5:10)
|Part Two 4. Recitative T – Aria B
Jesus said to Simon:
Do not be afraid; for from now on you will catch people.
|5. Arie (Duett) S A
Beruft Gott selbst, so muss der Segen
Auf allem unsern Tun
Im Übermaße ruhn,
Stünd uns gleich Furcht und Sorg entgegen.
Das Pfund, so er uns ausgetan,
Will er mit Wucher wiederhaben;
Wenn wir es nur nicht selbst vergraben,
So hilft er gern, damit es fruchten kann.
|5. Aria (Duet) S A
If God Himself calls, then blessing
upon all our deeds
must rest in abundance,
even if fear and worry stand in the way.
The talent that He lends to us,
He will have back again with interest;
as long as we don’t merely bury it,
He gladly helps, so that it bears fruit.
|6. Rezitativ S
Was kann dich denn in deinem Wandel schrecken,
Wenn dir, mein Herz, Gott selbst die Hände reicht?
Vor dessen bloßem Wink schon alles Unglück weicht,
Und der dich mächtiglich kann schützen und bedecken.
kommt Mühe, Überlast, Neid, Plag und Falschheit her
Und trachtet, was du tust, zu stören und zu hindern,
Lass kurzes Ungemach den Vorsatz nicht vermindern;
Das Werk, so er bestimmt, wird keinem je zu schwer.
Geh allzeit freudig fort, du wird am Ende sehen,
Daß, was dich eh gequält, die sei zu Nutz geschehen!
|6. Recitative S
What then can frighten you in your journey,
if God Himself stretches out His hands to you, my heart?
Before this simple gesture all misfortune already withdraws,
and it can powerfully shield and protect you.
Though trouble, strain, envy, trial, and falsehood approach
and seek to destroy and hinder what you do,
do not let brief hardship diminish your intention;
the work that He assigns will not be too difficult for anyone.
Go forth joyfully always, you will see it to the end,
so that, what once made you tremble, shall have been useful for you!
Sing, bet und get auf Gottes Wegen,
Verricht das Deine nur getreu
Und trau des Himmels reichem Segen,
So wird er bei dir werden neu;
Denn welcher seine Zuversicht
Auf Gott setzt, den verläßt er nicht.
(“Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten,” verse 7)
Sing, pray and walk in God’s ways,
only carry out your ways faithfully
and trust in heaven’s rich blessing,
then it will be renewed in you;
for whoever places his confidence
in God, God will never abandon.
|Jeremiah 16:16 (mov’t. 1); Luke 5:10 (mov’t. 4); “Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten,” verse 7: Georg Neumark 1657 (mov’t. 7)|