INI + AMEN.
Body and soul. That’s you. That’s how God made you. That’s how Jesus made you. He’s God, after all. That’s what we learn from our Gospel text. Only God could make and deliver on such a promise: “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And, boy, did He deliver! “When they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.” Peter gets what’s going on. He heard the preaching. He saw the miracle. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Yahweh, who knitted Peter together, who made him body and soul, was standing right there in front of him. That’s your God, too! The eternal Son of the Father, come from the Father, to care for you. That’s really what this is all about. This isn’t just some whiz-bang miracle for Jesus to flex His God muscles, His divine power. No, none of that. It’s about how Jesus relates to Peter, to each of you, and to the whole world—everyone He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit have created body and soul.
In our text we see that
JESUS CARES FOR YOU BODY AND SOUL.
((I. He cares for your body.))
In the Apostles’ Creed we confess that “God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.” “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.” That means because of Jesus. The Father’s mercy is His eternal Son, Jesus. Yes, the Father gives “daily bread to everyone…even to all evil people,” only because of Jesus, His Son.
Jesus also delivers daily bread. He did to Peter, James and John, and the other workers with that miraculous catch of fish, to all their families, and to all who bought fish that day. He also delivers daily bread to you. He sustains you in your body. Whatever “daily bread” you have is from Jesus.
((II. He cares for your soul.))
Jesus doesn’t just care for your body. Though that’s so often what we care most about. The good things in this life. Our time. Our stuff. But Jesus cares for your soul, too. He created that, too. We’re not just bodies. We have souls. That’s how He made us: body and soul.
He redeems your soul from sin. Sin which separates us from God. Sin that makes us afraid of God. Peter’s sin made him afraid. He knew what he’d done. He knew the deep dark secrets that no one else knew about, and he knew that God knew. To be in the presence of someone who knows that…is, well, terrifying.
But Jesus, the Son, didn’t come to be terrifying, to say, “shape up or ship out”—though He should! But since Jesus came to save sinners (Peter, you, and me included), He says, “Do not be afraid.” He absolves Peter with those words, letting Peter receive the benefits of His death and resurrection beforehand. Those benefits are yours, too! For He “has redeemed [you], a lost and condemned person, purchased and won [you] from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.”
But Jesus’ redemption doesn’t just include the soul. JESUS CARES FOR YOU BODY AND SOUL. This is the promise of His resurrection that the Holy Spirit “on the Last Day will raise [you] and all the dead, and give eternal life to [you] and all believers in Christ.” Jesus redeems your body, too.
((III. He cares for your soul through your body.))
But this redemption of your body and of your soul isn’t two separate events. They go together. When your soul is redeemed so is your body, in fact, your soul is redeemed through your body.
Jesus’ promise is that “the Holy Spirit has called [you] by the Gospel, enlightened [you] with His gifts, sanctified and kept [you] in the true faith.” This happens through the hearing of the Gospel and the receiving of the Lord’s Gifts: His Baptism, His Absolution, His Body and Blood.
This is the “catching of men” that Jesus told Peter about. When you hear the preaching of the Gospel, like that crowd heard it, you do so with your ears, and you are kept in the faith by the Spirit. The water splashed on your forehead, but your spirit was raised up to faith and new life. You eat and drink Jesus’ real body and blood, and you are kept body and soul unto life everlasting, and Jesus will keep His promise that you will “be resurrected on the Last Day.”
Jesus does this, the Spirit does it, through men-catchers, through pastors. That’s what Jesus is talking about, and we confess that “through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given. He works faith, where and when it pleases God, in those who hear the Gospel.” And this is exactly why Jesus instituted “the Office of Preaching and Delivering the Sacraments.”
JESUS CARES FOR YOU BODY AND SOUL. Body and soul. That’s you. That’s how God made you. That’s how Jesus made you. He’s God, after all. That’s what we learn from our Gospel text. He gives, just like the Father, “all that you need to support this body and life.” He’s redeemed you both body and soul with His death and resurrection. He delivers His salvation to you both body and soul. Gospel in your ears. Forgiveness in your ears. New eternal life splashed on your forehead. Jesus’ Body and blood for your eternal life eaten in His Supper. Delivered by men-catchers. In this way the Spirit will keep you “body and soul unto life everlasting,” when on the Last Day you will live again and forever body and soul.
INI + AMEN.