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Third Sunday After Easter – May 1, 2022

Third Sunday After Easter – May 1, 2022

“He [Jesus] said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish” (Jn. 6). Some years ago, Tullian Tchividjian authored a book entitled, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything.” Since then, his clay feet have been revealed and he is numbered among the ranks of sinners just like the rest of us. That fishing crew headed up by Peter certainly had experienced a night of frustrating fishing. Giving up, they headed toward shore only to be engaged in conversation by Jesus who was standing on the shore. Again, at his command (cf Lk. 5:1-11), they put down their net one more time. It filled with fish beyond their capacity to haul it in. Jesus plus nothing yielded an impossibly huge catch. Some will want to insist that this is not a “Jesus plus nothing” scenario because the disciples had to add their obedience, their letting down the net, and the hauling it up again. They would be mistaken. The disciples had already been obedient to their profession… they had already let down their net many times during the night… they had hauled it in many times. All fruitless. No fish. Add Jesus, many fish. Much of the reform that has gone on in the church through history has resulted from those who would insist that, for the sake of our salvation, something must be added to Jesus and his work on the cross… something like our decision to believe… something like our work at an ever-increasing sanctification… something like properly ordained priests or pastors… These are the sorts of accretions brought into the church over time to make the message more palatable to human tastes. The reformation of the church… the stripping it of those things added merely for the sake of taste… the return to “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” is ever and continually the hardest reformation for the church to undergo.

Prayers from one who himself needs reformation into the reality of “Jesus + Nothing = Everything.”

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that I, as I am seized and possessed by faith in Jesus Christ, would then know Jesus Christ in his complete sufficiency. Amen

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that I am not driven to that place where I must add some work of my own to complete a supposed insufficiency in your grace. Amen

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that the desire to see… to see my faith in action… my desire to walk by sight and not by faith would not drive me from the sufficiency of your grace. Amen

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that, in the sufficiency of your grace, I would withhold nothing from my neighbors should they evidence a need for it. Amen

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that the fullness of my life as you have provided it would overflow to fill the insufficiency of those very neighbors of mine. Amen

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that my sufficiency be useful to the Institute of Lutheran Theology as it raises up pastors and preachers for yet another generation. Amen

Heavenly Father, you have promised that your grace is sufficient for me. Grant that I live out the days of my baptism in weakness so that your power would be made complete in me. Amen

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