Matthew 4:18-20, “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”
With fishing, there are great lessons to be had. First, fishing teaching patience. The first time you cast your line does not mean that you get a fish. You can throw a net several times and not get anything. Patience teaches that if you persist at it, you will eventually get a fish. Second, when you get a fish, it may not stay in the boat. Fish tend to flop when out of the water and can get out if not secured in a bucket or other container. Lastly, fish need something to get them to the boat. They need a lure or trap in order to convince them that they should come to a line or net. Converting fishers of fish to fishers of men is not a far leap.
Jesus was at a point in time to begin teaching understudies that would carry on His work. He knew that He would not be on Earth forever and so He needed good men that could learn and take over the mission. The first two men that Jesus found were Peter and Andrew. Peter would become especially close to Jesus in the following years, though all the disciples became close to Jesus in their time together.
Peter and Andrew were fishers. That was their livelihood. They caught fish for food and to sell to make money. The Sea of Galilee was a sea that was full of fish that could supply the area with lots of food. There was much money to be made at fishing.
Jesus came to Peter and Andrew but did not ask them a question. Instead, He made a statement of assumption, assuming that Peter and Andrew would say yes. Jesus commanded them to follow Him and He promised to make them fishers of men. This seems like an odd phrase but to them, it would all make sense.
They did not question this command though. They left their nets and followed Him. They may have done this out of curiosity but I feel that they did it because of the authority that Jesus possessed. Peter and Andrew left their jobs and went with Jesus. Jesus did not promise them a raise. He did not promise them fame or prestige. He simply told them to follow Him and they did.
What does it take to be a “fisher of men?” It means being willing to go out on the water of life and put yourself out there. The world is like a sea with many people swimming around, lost and looking for meaning. When we cast our net or line, we are sending out the message of Jesus to them. We must do so in a way that attracts them. Not with lies or games. We must bring people in with truth. We must show people the love of Jesus. That will get them in the boat and staying in the boat. Once in the boat, the “fish” will learn and become a “fisher” as well. They will get their net and bring others to Jesus as well.
How we live makes a huge difference to getting people to come to Christ. It is not about luring people in with fancy displays. It is not about trapping people with lies. It starts with a tiny baby in a manger and ends with a man who died on the cross. What happened in between is the life of a man who was all man and all God. A man who died for all the sins of the world. The greatest gift of all is Jesus Himself. He is worth coming to the surface and getting in the boat with. That boat is going to Heaven for all those that believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Thank You for fishers of men. I needed one to bring me to Your Son and I have become one to bring people to Him as well. We all need to work to bring people to Your Son and save people from sin. You are an amazing God that never gives up on us. Thank You for all that You do for us daily.
In Your name we pray,