Building the Church
Become A Fisherman
Jesus Christ gave this promise to His followers, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19 ESV).” Over the course of three years and beyond, Jesus did just that by transforming a group of rough commercial fishermen and sinners into a band of bold witnesses to His claims and proclaimers of His message. The Holy Spirit used this achievement to spread the message of Jesus Christ throughout the Roman Empire, to the whole world, and down through 2000 years of time up to the present. What an amazing impact these first century followers had on mankind because they believed Jesus promise!
The phrase “Follow Me”, makes clear the single condition of the promise. Those who would claim this promise are obliged to follow Christ. College degrees are not necessary. Great communication skill are not required. Courage is not obligatory. Knowledge is not a necessity. Experience is not essential, and a thousand other things are not required. Rather, those who want to experience this promise must follow Christ. They are to be like pliable and moldable clay in His hands. They fix their eyes on Jesus, obey His commands, submit to His training, carry their own crosses, and believe His promises. These are the people who meet the condition of the promise.
The phrase “I will make you” indicates that a promise is being made by Jesus to those who follow Him. What is that promise? He is assuring His followers that He will not abandon or cease to work in their lives to make them useful as fishers of men. He will make His followers into what is needed to accomplish His task of fishing for men. Luke records in the book of Acts that Peter and John were
recognized as having been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13 ESV “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”). Jesus, Himself, gave these men all they needed to become fishers of men.
The phrase “fishers of men” tells us Jesus’ mission and the method He intends to use to accomplish the mission. His mission is to “catch” men and His method is to use His followers as fishermen casting nets into the great school of mankind who are under Satan’s power and delusion. These fish are precious to Him, but rebellious, and do not know that they need to be rescued. It takes “fishermen” to do this type of work. Jesus is promising to make His followers into fishermen who will cast their nets into that school of men and bring in a great haul (Luke 5:1-11 ESV).
In summary, this promise (Matthew 4:19) can impart direction, boldness, confidence, and reward to each follower of Christ. Direction because the verse tells us that God’s plan and method is to involve each follower in His plan of redemption. Boldness because the message is true, God ordained, and is of vital importance to all people in our spheres of life. Confidence because Christ makes us adequate to the mission. Rewarding because His followers are after the very thing God considers to be the most valuable part of His creation and worth the cost of redemption.
Let’s meditate and pray over this promise (Matthew 4:19) recommitting ourselves to following Christ and believe that He will make us into His fishermen. That is what I am asking and trusting God to do in my life and that of Grace Fellowship Church this year.
(Image: Le plombier du désert • CC BY-SA 3.0)