Sermon / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Season of Epiphany / Sunday January 21st 2018 - / Mark 1:14-20 / "About fishing people"
Text: Mark 1:14-20
Theme: About fishing people
Intr – Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: fishing is a once in a lifetime thing for me, since I went fishing just once so far. That makes me no pro at the art of getting the fish out of the water straight to the bucket. But I have done some research on that topic, and I will open the sermon today teaching you a little about this art. [Teaches everything wrong about fishing]
I see in some faces here a certain air of incredulity, like you were thinking: ”Did he really say what I just heard?”. But... is there something wrong with what I just taught here?
Well, if you are a fisherman or are at least a little bit acquainted with this practice, your answer will be: “Well, there is not something wrong with what you said. It is all completely wrong!” And if I went on saying “Why is that? Because I have talked to someone who taught me all the ropes on fishing”. Then your answer would certainly be: “Well, pastor, you certainly have talked to the wrong person then.”
1 – BAD ADVICE
The Gospel for today talks about fishing men. Fishing people into God’s kingdom. When it comes to this type of fishing we also need to talk with the right person. Because if we talk to people who know nothing about what that implies, all we get is bad advice.
_Look, when you are trying to fish people, don’t talk to much about doctrine, about right and wrong. After all, even the other day this big time famous lady said during a live event: “the important thing is to tell YOUR truth”. Truth has its share of relative objectivity these days. And after all, you would be pushing people away from your reach if you’d talk about objective and absolute truth.
_Don’t talk about hell, the devil, things like that. It will be either taken as quite legendary, or it will scare people out.
_Don’t be so hasty on throwing the hook and the bait. Take it easy. Because there are lots of religions and ideas out there trying to fish, and eventually all the ways lead to the same place.
Other possibilities include:
_Helping people out? Why? Let them help themselves.
_Why should we fish someone? They have their reason and thoughts. They might as well practice self-fishing, through their merits and virtues.
But we know the reality. As a rule, no fish can fish itself. Especially in the kindgom of God, there is no such thing as self-fishing. Sin has taken us away from the presence of God, and created a barrier one can’t overcome. If we insist in swimming out of the “Rive whose streams make glad the city of God” (Psalm 46) - Jesus -, we will die.
2 – COME WITH ME
In the Gospel, we see Jesus inviting men to come after Him. The siblings Simon and Andrew, and also brothers James and John. Then they just leave everything behind and follow Him. They follow the One who is the right person to teach about fishing people.
_Because He teaches what is right;
_Because He teaches what works right;
_Because He teaches what leads us to the right Place.
By faith Jesus has fished us into God’s Kingdom. He came to this world to make us die to our previous life and be born to a new one. And He is the fisher of men. He knows everything about it. He did everything about it. He fishes people through us, through His Church, bringing people close to Him as children of God.
As St. Mark writes, Jesus announced that “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand”. In a time when every so often kings would break into entire regions conquering cities and freeing people who were captive, Jesus "broke into" Palestine to start His way of freeing people. Not with mighty armies or powerful weapons, but with the might and authority of His preaching and teaching. Because they had ears, and eyes, and hearts captive to Satan; they needed to be rescued from sin and death by the Truth that sets us free.
Jesus started His ministry going by the lake, fishing men to teach them how to fish men. This is a very uncommon thing that a Master would do in those days, because back then what Masters usually would do when they started a class was to wait for the students to come to him. Jesus doesn’t wait though. He goes down by the lake, by the road, by the cities - by the disciples lives and calls them into the Great Office of fishing for eternity.
3 – Fishing people
Jesus comes to the disciples and has a short and precise phrase for them: “Come after Me and I’ll teach you to fish men”. Among all the qualities of the Saviour here is also Communication. He has a short, strong and straight to the point phrase which is connected to their reality, sparkling the desire to respond to the call. That is communication at its best
Since Jesus talks about fishing, let’s now talk for good about some aspects involving when you go out to fish.
_Fishing demands training. And perseverance. In my first and only fishing so far in a pond I actually caught 5 fish without any training. But that’s beginners luck; to excel at it you really need to practice it. “I will make you fishers of men”. Looks like easy peasy. But the disciples learned along the way that Jesus’ training was really hard. So much so that very few people remained by His side till the end.
_Fishers need to be patient. So fishers of men need to be as well. Because it involves walking with people, listening to them, having patience, and waiting and trusting in the Lord.
_ Fishers love fish. You cannot be a good fisher unless you love fish, both in recreative fishing or when you are aiming for a good supper. Fishers of people love...people. They see every one as someone by whom Christ laid down His life on the Cross.
_Fishers know that they don’t create the river and the shoal. God is the Creator of all opportunities. We are sent by him out to fish people with the Word to His Kingdom. And unlike the fish, who are scooped up out of the water to die and never come back again, people are fished out to die for sin but to live for the new life the Fisher has prepared on His Cross.
As Christians, we follow Jesus. We cannot stay by His side or even go ahead of Him - as if we could give Him some tips on how fishing in the XXI century looks like. We follow Him. The best part is that He came first to us. Jesus comes to you, today. In Word and Sacrament He feeds His fish, His sheep. He comes to us calls us. As he calls us, he capacitates us as well to go fish where we are, because He is the one doing the fishing through us. We can share the infinite happiness of the life in His hands.
Cc – If you want to learn something you need to ask the right person. Otherwise you might end up trying to fish with a golf club. Jesus is the Fisher of souls and He invites us to be fishers of people. “Come after Me. Come with Me.” He knows everything about it. And, He doesn’t practice sport fishing, but spiritual fishing. Fishing for eternity. In His hands, we will be fishers of people who will swim forever in the River whose streams make glad the city of God. Amen.