“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
Matt. 4:19 NKJV
As we continue our sermon series: Who are These Guys?: Learning to be a Disciple by Discovering Who the Disciples Are, we learn at least four of the disciples were fishermen. Simon Peter and his brother Andrew were partners. James and John, were employed in their father Zebedee’s fishing business which had boats, nets, and servants working for him. When Jesus calls these men, the invitation is very short. Just two words: “Follow Me.”
These men had to make a decision. To follow Jesus meant they would have to leave the thing they loved doing the most and the thing that gave them their livelihood. That was fishing. These guys were experts in fishing for fish. That was all they had known up to this point of their lives.
If these guys were around today, they would be riding in pick-up trucks with a “Salt Life” sticker on their rear window. They would be wearing Bill Dance sun glasses and have a Bass Pro Shop cap on their heads. They lived and breathed fishing.
It’s interesting that when Jesus called Simon and Andrew, He told them that He would take what they know and apply it to their new lives as disciples of Him. Jesus tells them “I will make you fishers of men.” The fishers of fish would somehow become fishers of people.
Both Matthew and Mark record these famous words that Jesus spoke to Simon and Andrew. Mark’s version states it this way: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” (Mark 1:17 NKJV). Just as being trained to fish with a net in the fishing industry is important, Jesus knows that these men need training to become fishers of men. This process is what we call discipleship.
Discipleship is not just about learning and studying techniques. Discipleship is a lifelong process of applying what you learn in your daily life as you fish for people. If all you do is learn to fish but never go fishing, you have wasted your time. Discipleship is the same way. If you never fish for people, you have wasted your time.
If we are going to fish, we have to go where the fish are. In the NIV translation of both the Matthew and Mark accounts, the latter part of the verse is stated: “…and I will send you out to fish for people.” If we are truly fishing for people, we have to get out of the church to do that.
Here’s the good thing about Jesus. He will teach us how to fish for people. In the NLT, the second part of both versions reads: “…I will show you how to fish for people!” How great is that? Jesus assures these fishermen that if they follow Him, He will show them how to fish for people.
It is my prayer that we at RoS truly follow Jesus and become fishers of the men and women, boys and girls of Durham.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.