Sermon – 4th before Lent 2019 (9.30am)

Sermon 10th February 2019 9.30am
Reading Luke 5 vv 1 – 11
Revd Bernard Moss

Jesus knows where to look.
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Jesus knows where to look – that’s what struck me as I read again this oh so familiar gospel story : Jesus knows where to look
The scene is set for us in the reading – experienced fishermen had been toiling all night without catching a bean, let alone a fish or a discarded plastic bag – disheartened and fed up, they had made for the shore and began washing their nets. Meantime Jesus had begun to teach the crowd sitting just off shore in Simon Peter’s boat… have you ever noticed how well sound travels over open water ? -and suddenly, when he had finished speaking to the crowd there was Jesus – by trade we believe to be a carpenter- then calling out to Peter – now’s your chance – push out into the deep -throw your nets out NOW – go on – do it now!
What does he a mere carpenter’s son know about fishing Peter might have muttered –
but hey ho ! nothing ventured nothing gained – if you say so Lord – and before he knew it his nets were full to bursting with the biggest catch ever, so much so that the others had to come rushing to his aid – it needed two boats to deal with them all.
From where he was positioned, Jesus could see the shoal of fish ..he knew where to look
and you could have knocked the fishermen over with a wet St Peter’s fish , so great was their surprise…
Oh yes! Jesus knows where to look – he knows what he needs to look for – he knows where God is at work – he knows what he has to do .
And the more you think about it the more important this insight into Christ’s ministry becomes

Jesus knew where to look for a group of disciples… he knew whom he needed to choose – he could see the potential in each of them, rum bunch though they seemed to be – he knew where to look and where to find them.
He could see past their uncertainty and lack of confidence and could see how they would be able to proclaim and live out the kingdom of God, even though he doubtless could also see their capacity to let him and each other down.
He could call an embarrassed tax collector down from the tree where he was hiding –
He could enjoy himself with ordinary people who loved a party but weren’t favourites with the religious leaders of their day – he could turn the water of ordinariness into the wine of celebration of God’s love. He knew where to look to make these things happen

Jesus knew where to look throughout his healing ministry –time and again his compassion and open-heartedness changed the lives of ordinary people as he knew where and how to look into their need and their humanity – he saw people as God intended them to be, and he knew when he needed to look deep into their very hearts and souls and offer healing forgiveness.

And Jesus knew where to look when it came to the final showdown – some challenges can’t be dodged – some issues are so important that they cannot be avoided – Jesus knew where to look – where he had to go – what he had to do – to fulfil his calling and his destiny and the salvation of humankind. He knew – oh yes he knew …. And as the scriptures tell us he set is face steadfastly towards Jerusalem.
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Jesus still knows where to look
He looks at us for a start – he knows us through and through and can see our potential and no matter what our background – no matter how lacking in confidence we may feel – he simply but profoundly invites us into a friendship through him with the living God .. a God of love and compassion, forgiveness and challenge, of healing and celebration
He invites us to be caught up with the mystery and joy of Gods friendship

Jesus knows where to look…and invites us to share his vision and how he sees the world.
He looks at a hurting world and invites us to be part of a healing process… he will be looking at our own communities and seeing where people are in great need – people who are labelled as somehow being second-class citizens because of mental health challenges – poverty – ill health – relationship breakdown, and relationships being enrichment in ways that the church often finds difficult to celebrate. Jesus knows where to look… and invites us to welcome, celebrate, heal, and embrace, just as he did in his earthly ministry and seeks to continue through us his cherished friends. The extraordinary generosity of God has no bounds ; God doesn’t know what empty or half empty nets are.
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So let’s return to that lake side… the gloom of a disappointing night suddenly lifts – the exultation in a magnificent catch now filling the air..
And then the reality dawns on them and the enormity of what has just taken place overwhelms them…
And Peter falls at Jesus’ feet in worship and sheer utter unworthiness : Lord depart from me for I am a sinful man. This is awesome, breathtakingly awesome
But Jesus replies no doubt with a warm smile and a gentle chuckle – you aint seen nuthin yet son… you aint seen nuthin yet
In other words, once you start seeing things as God see them – once you start looking where God looks… once you start aligning yourself with the love and compassion of God then amazing things begin to happen… far beyond our expectations.
Coming face to face with the sheer generosity of God’s love and compassion really does drive us to our knees.. this is awesome …especially as we never ever thought that God could work in and through us to bring good news to others. But He does and always will do. Awesome!.