02102019 Epiphany 5/6 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision!”


02102019 Epiphany 5/6 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

February 10, 2019
“Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision!”

Sermon Audio

Thursday morning Export experienced a phenomenon that is not that uncommon.  If you would have been in England, it could have been called ‘pea soup’ fog. What the fog wouldn’t allow one to do was see very far, so one’s vision of the hills and valleys were hidden from our  collective view. This made me think of our Gospel this morning. This morning’s Gospel told us the account of Jesus instructing the disciples to let down their nets and catching a large number of fish after they had been skunked the night before.  Yet, it isn’t about the number of fish, but about beyond the catching of the fish and the vision or the lack thereof that the disciples were unable to fully understand, Jesus was calling them to fulfill. Hence, why we like the disciples, “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision!”

It can be said, yes, “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision”, but what is that vision Jesus is calling us to fulfill?  Is it to ‘build’, ‘save’ or ‘change’ where we live or what we do?  Certainly not. Jesus on the Sea of Galilee in calling the disciples is reorienting their understanding of who they come in contact with and what Jesus is calling them to fulfill.  Jesus, Son of God, Who came and called the disciples to be on mission with Him, wanted the disciples to understand, He desired them to reorient their minds, clear the ‘fog’ that Judaism had become and reorient their desires to making disciples of all nations.  Yes, they would not hear those word until after the resurrection, but Jesus Christ like windshield wipers in the rain or fog do for our vision when we drive, they remove the water or fog that prevents us from seeing clearly so to with the disciples Jesus was removing their understandings so they could fulfill His vision.

We who gather here today at Emmanuel have the opportunity as well to hear that “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision!”  Jesus vision is for we who call Emmanuel home to disciple others so Jesus message of salvation on the Cross of Calvary can be heard and we ultimately receive eternal life with so many others.

Yet, how can we be a part of and hear and heed the call from our Lord and Savior?  The call is not to bog ourselves down with more events, more expectations, nor more ‘homework’ for us to do.  Jesus call to His disciples who were fisherman, was to live a life as genuine disciples and understand fulfilling His vision is more about removing the ‘fog’ or ‘rain’ from our collective vision and jointly in unison putting our shoulders to the wheel of and for Jesus vision of discipleship and relationship with one another here at Emmanuel and with our community.  “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision!”

There isn’t a boilerplate template or a checklist of boxes we fill in before we ‘punch our ticket to heaven’.  When, “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision” He wants all of us to form a deeper relationship with Him and invite others to be a part of this relationship as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ.

There are two ways we can fulfill Jesus Christ vision and our call by Him.  First, by reading the bible daily. It isn’t about the whole Bible in a year or any other program, but simply praying and asking God to open His Word and reveal what He wants us to learn.  It simply could be a page, a paragraph, or a passage and praying for God to help us to apply it to our daily lives consistently. This could be a way we can prepare for worship on Sunday by reading the lessons the week before.  Or we could gather in someone’s home and read all the lessons and pray for the Holy Spirit to open the Holy Scriptures to how each of us can fulfill God’s vision in our lives through our call as His disciple.

The second way we demonstrate our commitment that “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision” is with those who come this morning to worship with us.  We here at Emmanuel have a beautiful facility and the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venture Crew that we celebrate with today are another way God uses us to ‘fulfill His vision’ and His call on and with our congregation.  If we see ourselves as unable to partner with others, the vision Jesus calls us to fulfill could perish and I do not believe any of us want this to happen.

Many years ago, in Crown Heights, New York, there was a Jew named, Yankel, who owned a bakery. He survived the concentration camps. He once said, “You know why it is that I’m alive today? I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on the train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold, in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm.”

“Sitting next to me was an older Jew – this beloved elderly Jew - from my hometown I recognized, but I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him, to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, his neck. I begged him to hang on. All night long; I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself, my fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing the heat on to this man’s body. Hours and hours went by this way. Finally, night passed, morning came, and the sun began to shine. There was some warmth in the cabin, and then I looked around the car to see some of the other Jews in the car. To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies, and all I could hear was a deathly silence.

Nobody else in that boxcar made it through the night – they died from the frost. Only two people survived: the old man and me… The old man survived because somebody kept him warm; I survived because I was warming somebody else…”

We who claim membership here at Emmanuel through our baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death and resurrection have a choice to make.  Will we dedicate ourselves to use our wipers, warm up our fellow sojourners and fulfill our call to fulfill the vision of discipleship and being fishers of men given by Jesus Christ, or will we chose the easy path?  It is my prayer that we will continue to partner with the Scouts, be a beacon for Murrysville and Export and demonstrate clearly our commitment today that “Jesus calls us to fulfill His vision!”  AMEN!