1st Sunday of Luke (2 Cor. 4:6-15, Luke 5:1-11)
Four Fisherman Called (Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20)
(5:1) At that time, Jesus was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἑστὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς παρὰ τὴν λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ, καὶ εἶδε δύο πλοῖα ἑστῶτα παρὰ τὴν λίμνην· οἱ δὲ ἁλιεῖς ἀποβάντες ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἀπέπλυναν τὰ δίκτυα.ἐμβὰς δὲ εἰς ἓν τῶν πλοίων, ὃ ἦν τοῦ Σίμωνος, ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἐπαναγαγεῖν ὀλίγον· καὶ καθίσας ἐδίδασκεν ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου τοὺς ὄχλους.
(5:4) And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
ὡς δὲ ἐπαύσατο λαλῶν, εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Σίμωνα· ἐπανάγαγε εἰς τὸ βάθος καὶ χαλάσατε τὰ δίκτυα ὑμῶν εἰς ἄγραν
At this point, Peter does not yet recognize that Jesus' instructions will bring about a radical change in life for him. Jesus's call comes suddenly and without any opportunity for anticipation or reflection.
(5:5) And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Σίμων εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἐπιστάτα, δι᾿ ὅλης τῆς νυκτὸς κοπιάσαντες οὐδὲν ἐλάβομεν· ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ῥήματί σου χαλάσω τὸ δίκτυον. καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσαντες συνέκλεισαν πλῆθος ἰχθύων πολύ· διερρήγνυτο δὲ τὸ δίκτυον αὐτῶν. καὶ κατένευσαν τοῖς μετόχοις τοῖς ἐν τῷ ἑτέρῳ πλοίῳ τοῦ ἐλθόντας συλλαβέσθαι αὐτοῖς· καὶ ἦλθον καὶ ἔπλησαν ἀμφότερα τὰ πλοῖα, ὥστε βυθίζεσθαι αὐτά.
Peter not only refers to Jesus here as "Master", but also accordingly does whatever his Master instructs him to do – Simon Peter accepts the words of the Messiah immediately. These disciples would also have heard the preaching of John the Baptist, thus helping to prepare the disciples to accept The Lord without pause.
**Fidelity and Obedience are two sides of the same coin – when sincere, one leads to the other.
(5:8) But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he was astonished, and all who were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken;
ἰδὼν δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος προσέπεσε τοῖς γόνασιν ᾿Ιησοῦ λέγων· ἔξελθε ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι ἀνὴρ ἁμαρτωλός εἰμι, Κύριε·θάμβος γὰρ περιέσχεν αὐτὸν καὶ πάντας τοὺς σὺν αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τῇ ἄγρᾳ τῶν ἰχθύων
A familiar pattern; Peter Kneels and confesses Jesus as Lord – this action brings to mind two important points:
1) A deep awareness of the divinity of Christ and
2) An acute awareness of his own human sinfulness; and in this moment of awareness, Peter, naturally feels "unworthy", asking his Master and Lord to even "depart from" him.
(5:10, 11) and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
ᾗ συνέλαβον,ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ᾿Ιάκωβον καὶ ᾿Ιωάννην, υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου, οἳ ἦσαν κοινωνοὶ τῷ Σίμωνι. καὶ εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Σίμωνα ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· μὴ φοβοῦ· ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν.καὶ καταγαγόντες τὰ πλοῖα ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, ἀφέντες ἅπαντα ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ.
These first disciples, who were first partners in fishing, were to become partners with Peter also in the work of mission and evangelism in the early Church.
Jesus the good Shepard, who knows his flock, and knows Peter is also afraid and instructs Simon Peter "do not be afraid" – that is, do not have the antithesis of faith... but rather have faith.
For to be fully aware of both the divinity of the Lord, and our own sinfulness ought to illicit fear.
Lastly we learn that the disciples "...left everything, and followed Him..."
This is certainly indicative of the fact that they loved the Lord and Trusted the Lord.
It is also important to note that Jesus chooses as disciples men who have not been trained in a sacred or theological school – so they would have been mostly unschooled and illiterate – basically peasants in the eyes of the Jewish leadership and religious authorities of the time. However, by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost, these same unlearned and illiterate men will be revealed to be the wisest of all.
To recap we could say:
- True awareness of the divinity of the Lord, which brings about a related awareness of our own sinful humanity, is paramount to a natural "fear of God".
- However, if we are to overcome this fear, it requires Faith.
- If we have sincere faith, we will be able to respond to the Lord in Love – and in Love it is easy to "leave everything... to follow him" – that is to say, "draw near to him".
Every Sunday we hear these words before we receive Holy Communion "with the fear of God, Faith and Love, draw near" - "Me Frike Perendie, Bese, dhe Dashuri, Afrohuni"
- These all-important liturgical words, are a call to join the Lord at His mystical supper
- They also resonate with the Lords call to each of us to respond to him as disciples, and to "follow him".
- Today is an incredibly important day, because we will initiate two new members of the community into the Orthodox Church through the holy sacrament of baptism. Two new Christians will be made, they are the present and they are the future – they are the ones the Lord calls, and they will belong to the Lord after today.
- It is no coincidence however, that at the end of the sacrament when these beautiful children are presented to their parents as full-fledged members of the Orthodox Church the parents will also be given three clear instructions:
1. Take good care of them
2. Protect them
3. "...Remember all of you, to come to holy Communion regularly"
As full-fledged members of the Orthodox Church it is imperative that we come to receive holy Communion regularly. I continue to look forward to the day, when everyone here is prepared to come forward in the fear of God, faith and Love and draw near to the Lord.
- In this way, we are all called to be not only disciples of the Lord, but also to maintain the work and tradition of the Holy Apostles who established the Lord's church
– again why we hear the words at the end of the creed "one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church"