Reflections: The Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 5:1-11

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 1:1-20; Galatians 5:1-26

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The calling of the first disciples has always been a fascinating story for me. The fishermen’s day was over. They were getting ready to head home and go to bed after failing to catch anything the whole night. The frustration and plain old tiredness must have pushed them to the very brink. One can almost hear the sarcasm and rising anger in the voice of Simon: “Master, we have toiled all night and took nothing!” After all, the fishermen of Galilee know that you do not catch fish with a net during the day. However, there must have been something about this man Jesus. Maybe it was His voice that commanded attention and obedience. Simon listened and obeyed.

You know what happens next. The nets are filled to breaking. The men call for backup, and the catch is so great that both of the boats begin to sink. Simon realizes that he is standing in the presence of the Lord because only God can do such great things. Simon’ s revelation, a gift from the Holy Spirit, immediately leads him to the only place that anybody can go when standing in the presence of God. Falling to his knees, he confesses, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” 

This, too, must be our confession when we come into the presence of God. Today, as we do every Sunday, we gather in church before the presence of the almighty God. We join with all fellow believers in saying, “I, a poor miserable sinner.” We confess that we do not deserve to be in the presence of the Lord, for sinners cannot remain before God.

Christ hears this confession and speaks words of comfort to us just as He spoke to Peter. “Do not be afraid,” and “I forgive you all your sins.” What a gift you and I have received from Jesus on account of His sacrifice on the Cross! Like Peter, we are followers of Christ, blessed children of God who are now able to live and serve God in this life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O God, You have prepared for those who love You good things that surpass all understanding. Pour into our hearts such love toward 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. (Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity)

-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.