Fishers of Men
Fishing was not something I grew up doing. I’ve only been fishing a handful of times, and I’ve only caught one fish in my life (and as I was reeling it in, my line got caught on a branch so…). The first four people that Jesus called to follow Him were fishermen.
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-22)
These men fished for a living. They would cast out large nets into the lakes and seas and the larger the net, the better the cast, the more fish would be caught. Jesus told these men that He would make them fishers of men. We know what happens: they leave their jobs and possessions behind and follow Jesus, becoming His disciples, and in Luke 10 we read of Jesus sending His followers out into the world, out to fish for people.
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.’” (Luke 10:1-3)
Notice that Jesus sends them out “two by two” because any good fisherman knows if you cast a large net and catch a lot of fish, you’re going to need someone else in the boat with you to help pull the large catch in. All throughout Scripture, God is very clear in the importance of meeting together and going through life with other members of the family of God.
Fishing requires patience. There is a lot of waiting after you’ve cast that net or sent out the bait. Rarely does anyone get an immediate catch, which is important for us to keep in mind. If you are planting the seeds of the Gospel truth in someone’s heart, keep at it (Ecclesiastes 11:6). Keep showing them Christ through the way you love, and keep waiting patiently for that seed to grow and that net to fill up. Notice that Jesus doesn’t describe a nice peaceful day of fishing on a calm lake. He says He is sending them out “like lambs among wolves.” It’s important for us to know that this type of fishing may not be easy. We may find ourselves like Jesus found James and John, mending our nets.
What size net are you using? Do you use a little net, only hoping to catch and attract a certain kind of fish? Or do you use a large net, not caring what type of fish you get, you just want to get as many as you can? Paul was a large-net fisher of men.
“When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
This is Paul casting a large net. He wanted to find common ground with everyone, he wanted to do everything he could to save people. He was constantly casting a large net. So how do you fish for people? Do you cast a large net or a small, specific net? Are you patient while your net sits in the water? Do you have friends with you to help pull the net in? Our mission from the Lord is to go and make disciples. Jesus has made us fishers of men, so let us cast our nets together and wait patiently on the Lord.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.