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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Fishers of Men
Jesus was a man who loved everyone, He, after all, died for our sins on the cross. However, during His time on earth, the people whom He chose to associate with were the sinners, He himself said that it is the sick that need a doctor not those that are well. He also chose sinners and the lowest class of people to take over His task of spreading the Gospel to the world. He chose fishermen, tax collectors, zealots—not the rich, not the priests/rabbis or the so called holy people. He went out in the streets and found His servants among the populous. He found them in their turf, among the people whom He wanted to call forth.
At that time, as Jesus walked 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 their boat and their father, and followed him. And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
He explained what He required; He wanted them to be fishers of men. True, the fishermen dropped their physical nets, but they took up their spiritual nets. The nets they used in the sea were for bringing in many fish, they made their living off of it. I don’t know if you have ever seen a net that someone uses in the sea—it is strong—very strong. It has many holes for the water to pass through, and is fashioned in a way that it is able to flex and take the weight of a great amount of fish. Sometimes you get large amounts of fish, sometimes small amounts. Once in a while, when you are fishing for tuna you get a carp, once in a while your net will get caught and break - either by the fish, weight, or upon rocks or coral. It's many hours in the sun, fighting the waves, fighting the storms, fighting the wind, fighting the fish—the life of a fisherman seems like it would be similar to the life of a landscaper or construction worker, which I am familiar with. The life of a fisherman is back-breaking work with many hours of toiling and struggling—some days you are prosperous—some days you come home empty-handed. Fishing is something that the men whom Jesus chose to do His work were familiar with. They knew how to traverse the waters and find the fish. They were not afraid of hard work—exactly what Christ needed in His mission to save the oceans of the world.
When Jesus called the disciples, they left their physical nets, dropped their lives, whatever they were doing and followed Him into a bold new idea, a bold new concept of love. I know how scary it is to leave all that you know for something new. I know how scary it is to take that leap of faith into the unknown—however, with Jesus at the helm it is not as scary or terrifying. For three years, Jesus prepared the disciples to take over His work on earth. For three years, He prepared them, He built the net that they would to fish for the people of the world. Every fishermen not only knew how to fish, but also knew how to repair their nets, this was essential, Jesus wanted the disciples to know every strand of the net, every knot, ever loop, but the net He supplied would never break, it only would get larger as they grew in the power of the Holy Spirit. The net Jesus supplied would pull in many types of fish, all of them would be precious to Him, however, some would be thrown back into the water that would not accept what was given them, some would escape the net refusing what was given them and some would see the net ahead of time and refuse to enter into it. The most glorious part of the Christian fisherman’s net is that it is unbreakable. When it is thrown into the waters, it always comes back full. The word of God binds the knots so powerfully that it cannot be broken.
Every man of God who is called to preach the kingdom is innately equip with the net of God and knows how to use it. The problem is that most do not use the strength that God gave them to cast the net into the waters. Some are not willing to go out into the waters, some refuse to enter into the boat, but the few that are called to carry on the task that the apostles were commissioned with, use the net with such skill and fervor that they bring in many.
Some fishermen are called to bring in the young new fish of the waters. Some fishermen are called to bring in the fish that keep getting away, and some are called to cast the nets into the waters and wait until they bring in those who are also called.
The nets that are used by the Christian fisherman are not traps, they are not a lure, they are not deceiving, they are out in the open for all to see. God never uses under-handed maneuvers to call anyone into His loving embrace, He uses love, patience and mercy. He uses grace, wonder and glory to bring in those that He loves.
We are all called to bring in the nets that we are called to use. We are all called to serve the God who serves us.