5C19. Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8. Isaiah, on feeling that the frame of the house shook and filled with smoke, cried out, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips.” The seraphim touched the mouth of Isaiah with an ember taken from the altar and said, “Your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” When the Lord asked, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah responded, “Here I am; send me!” Before the great display of the power of the Lord, Isaiah felt his own profound unworthiness because of his sinfulness. However, it was by God’s power that he was made worthy and so enabled Isaiah to be God’s prophet to his people.
Luke 5:1-11. Jesus, knowing what he planned to do, got into Simon’s boat so that he could preach to the crowd that was on the shore. Jesus then ordered Simon to put out into deep water and lower the nets for a catch. Simon, yet to be named Peter, acquiesced to Jesus’ command despite the fact that he thought the effort would be fruitless because they had gotten nothing after fishing all night. Simon, stunned at the sudden great catch of fish to the point that their nets were tearing, “fell at the knees of Jesus and said, ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.’” “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’” As with Isaiah, God turned sinful men into people who were missionaries worthy to fulfil God’s calling to bring people into God’s kingdom. “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-11. When we read the epistles, it should be with the mind that Paul is responding to some issue or need in the church community to which he writes. In other words, we only know one part of the dialog. Next week we read further that the issue he is responding to this week is that some said that there was no resurrection of the dead. This week Paul lays the groundwork to assert the genuine resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Paul says that Jesus himself appeared to many after the resurrection, including to Paul himself. Then Paul digresses to how unworthy Paul was to be personally called by Jesus, since Paul intensely “persecuted the church of God.” Paul asserts that it was and is by the grace of God that he is what he is, a very effective missionary for the church of God. As with Isaiah and Peter, now with Paul, God turns a sinner into a person who was a missionary worthy to fulfil God’s calling to bring people into God’s kingdom. Without God no one can be holy; with God we cannot be anything but holy.