What it is to be Fishers of Men
To Be Fishers of Men
Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Anyone who knows the gospel has heard this verse countless times. It is usually always included with our Jesus' Great Commission to his disciples as well as all of his followers; however, these verses have been distorted over time. Many Christians would say that it our duty to save the souls of all the non-believers. This has ultimately created a type of superiority complex among Christians and it has been extremely poisonous to Christianity.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, " Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Without a doubt we are supposed to go and spread the word that our Saviour has saved us and that He has a place for everyone in His kingdom who accepts his gift; however, it does not say that we are responsible for saving the souls of non-believers. The thing is our souls are already saved we just have to accept that Christ died on that cross for that salvation.
As Titus 3:4 states, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
The Casting of a Bad Lure
Therefore, I ask what does it mean to be "fishers of men?" For those who know anything about fishing, you know that if you set up a poor lure, the odds are that you are not going to catch much except maybe some algae. As Christians we seem to like to set up poor lures a lot even with the best of intentions. The first mistake we make when talking about the gospel is that we think we need to save the individual's soul. The second is coming of judgemental or in many regards radiating a sense of superiority over those you are speaking to. There have been times where I have witnessed a Christian literally point to people and shout, "You are going to hell for you impurity!" To be clear about this example, this person did not even know the person he just called out in front of a whole group. At this point the Christian had more or less just kicked a hornet's nest as many in the crowd had become angry.
I am not saying that we as Christians need to sugar coat the harsh reality that we are sinners and that without Christ we are dead, but we also need to remember to have love and compassion for everyone, even those who would choose to persecute and kill us.
The Casting of a Good Lure
Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
As Christians we like to think that the first of these is easy to follow, but in truth it is not because of sin, but we try to follow them; however, at times it seems like loving our neighbors is that elephant in the room that we would rather try to ignore. Going back to that example, if the roles had been reversed, who believes that the Christian would have liked it if suddenly he was being accused of impurity and that he was going to hell because of it? I would be willing to bet that he would not be very happy.
So, then what exactly does a good lure look like for a "fisher of men?" It is very simple and it all starts with the words that we choose to speak. Our commission is to share the gospel in an effort to bring more believers to the gates of heaven, but again, it is not us who is saving their souls. Once we share the gospel with genuine love and compassion it is no longer in our hands, but instead it is up to the Holy Spirit and whether that individual allows the Holy Spirit to move them. We are merely standing on the shore making our lure the best we can with the help of the Holy Spirit and casting it out in hopes that the lure pierces the darkness.
Love Them Like Jesus
All sin is equal in God's eyes and in truth not a single one of us deserves salvation. The poisonous superiority complex that we as Christians have has to end. We absolutely need to humble ourselves and realize that while we are saved through Christ, we are by no means even close to being without sin. In our daily battle with trying to love our God with everything we have, we also need to sometimes stop and look in a mirror from time to time and think about how we like to be treated and do the same for others.