Friday, January 8, 2016
Go Fish 1/8/2016
“Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was 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.” Matthew 4:18-20
Almost immediately after Jesus formally began his ministry, he called his first followers into service. There was already an existing acquaintance between them (John 1:35-42) but at that time the work of the Lord had not yet begun in earnest. There was a period of time when the opportunity was given to get to know him and to begin to understand who he is. When the time came to execute on his purpose for coming to earth, a precedent worthy of note was set.
The first four of the called were employed in the fishing trade. As Jesus would go on to do almost exclusively, he communicated a heavenly message to them in earthly terms with which they could easily identify. The first item was an invitation to follow him. In the rabbinical tradition, the master teacher took on students (disciples if you will) who lived with him and learned by both direct instruction and direct observation. You will note that in the Gospels, there was rarely a time when at least some of the apostles were not with him. Secondly, Jesus informed them that there was work for them to do and he analogized it in a way that resonated deeply with them. The message was that as you catch fish for a living, you will now capture souls for life.
Beloved, it is both a simple and common thing to claim acquaintance with Jesus. We all have stories of how and where we met him, who introduced us to him and what the circumstances were at the time. Some of us may even claim to be followers in that we attend worship on Sundays, attend bible study mid-week and Sunday morning and generally try to observe his commands. The issue most of us have is that we come just short of being actual disciples. This is seen in that we do not do the very first thing we were called to do as his followers and follow one of the very last instructions that he gave, which he himself demonstrated throughout his ministry. We are not actively engaged in seeking and saving the lost.
Imagine being a doctor who studied under a research physician who discovered the cure for cancer. Imagine that research physician instructing his charge to offer it to all mankind that the disease may once and for all be eradicated. Imagine the teacher and mentor further wisely advising his student that there would be plenty who would be skeptical and would not accept the cure, perhaps even going so far as to become antagonistic and accusatory about what they believe to be false hope. Now imagine the student taking the cure for himself and storing the formula away in a safe where it stays. Finally, imagine people all over the world continuing to die from cancer.
We have been given both a great gift and a great responsibility. Jesus has saved us from the ultimate death and he has commanded us to do all we can to save others (Matthew 18:19-20). We know something about fishing. Let us apply that skill in a way that benefits those in critical need as it was once applied to us.