October 28, 2011
Fishers of Men
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Jesus profoundly changed people around Him. He would like to change your life too, starting today. As I talk with people at the beach, I often see that they do not have much interest in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, most of the people I see at the beach never mention the name of the Jesus Christ in my presence. They can be very friendly people, but they do not know Jesus Christ. Jesus changed His disciples so that they would spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world with their words and their love. Jesus called this process becoming fishers of men. Jesus transformed men who threw their nets into the sea trying to catch fish into disciples who fished constantly for men. What does it mean to become fishers of men? We will study this passage and gain some insight today.
Going by the Sea of Galilee. Do you think that Jesus has stopped walking by the sea today? Of course, we do not see Jesus walking in the flesh by the sea, but He remains present spiritually. I can often see Him in my mind, walking, talking, and helping people. In Mark 1:16, I have this picture of Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee. I also see His love poured upon all kinds of people. Jesus walked where He would be meeting people. In contrast to the ministry of John the Baptist who ministered in the wilderness, Jesus walked among crowds and drew multitudes. Jesus never walked aimlessly, but always with purpose to do the Father’s will (Mark 1:38). As you walk along today, remember to look for Jesus walking among the people all around you, even if they do not recognize Him or speak about Him.
Jesus Saw Simon and Andrew. Jesus always notices people, and knows the name of everyone. At the beach recently, a fellow walked up to a few of us sitting at the table, and brought his dog. I have never seen this man without that dog. I can hardly ever remember the name of the man or the dog, but yesterday I did, by the grace of God. This guy, like so many others, seems interested in people who will spend time talking with him. Some people just like to talk and have someone take an interest in them. Jesus always takes an interest in you, and He knows your name. When Jesus calls you to follow Him, He does so on a first name basis (Mark 1:16).
Fishermen Casting Nets. Jesus called ordinary people to be His disciples. He found these men fishing, hard at work casting a net (Mark 1:16). Jesus still calls people to follow Him. In fact, have you ever considered how Jesus brought the good news of salvation to you? Where were you at the time? What were you doing? Jesus goes looking for disciples every day and finds them fishing, walking, working–well, you get the idea. I remember well the day that Jesus called me, impressed upon me that I was a sinner, and even so, He loved me and gave His life to pay for all my sins. He promised to forgive me, if I would only ask in faith, believing He died for me and rose again from the dead. I recall how wonderful I felt for months afterward that all my sins were gone forever. Jesus calls people to walk with Him everyday, and He uses people just like you to spread His love and speak for Him.
Jesus Said to Them. Do you still expect Jesus to speak to you? Do you think He still talks with people today? I can tell you that I hear Jesus right now speaking to me through this passage, even as I study this passage with you. I hear His voice, feel His kindness and love, and watch Him work right in Mark 1:17. Jesus speaks to me through His active and living word. We must keep our ears and hearts open to listen to Jesus every day, and read His word to love Him more. Not only does Jesus walk among us every day, but He also speaks to us every day.
Follow Me. Jesus issued lots of commands, and expected us to follow them. In this case, Jesus commanded Simon and Andrew to follow Him. Just drop the net, leave your job, and start walking with Him (Mark 1:17). If you intend to find real joy and purpose for living, then start following Jesus. For some of you, that means start following Jesus again. For others, it means you will hear His voice calling you today for the first time. For others, it means that you will continue to follow Him, just like you have been doing. But all of us need to listen to the voice of Jesus every day. All of us need to follow Him–all day, every day. By following Him, we walk in His love and blessings.
I Will Make. Have you ever seen people who try to recreate themselves? They hope to become something new? Jesus has a plan for Simon and Andrew, Bert and Beverly, you, and every disciple. You will no longer be making yourself, but Jesus will now be making you. Jesus used a word “I will make” (“ποιήσω“) which means here that He would be making them into something new (Mark 1:17). They would no longer be in charge of making themselves, but their Creator God has now come to make their lives new. He would do it directly, and He would do it Himself. As the disciples follow Jesus, Jesus Himself would be making them into something new. Do you feel the power of Jesus Christ at work in your life? Do you realize today that Jesus will be making something new of your life, by His power, with His love, and according to His purpose? Jesus has that kind of personal and powerful interest in you today.
Become Fishers of Men. Jesus also described the goal of His call to Simon and Andrew: they were to become fishers of men. This term for “become” (“γενέσθαι“) tells us that Jesus does not create random lives, but lives of plan and purpose–His plans and His purpose (Mark 1:17). Jesus calls all of us to become fishers of men. We “become” fishers of men and Jesus Himself transforms us. This process of transformation takes a lifetime, although we become a fisher of men immediately. In my life, I become an attorney on the day I affirmed I would abide by rules of the Florida Bar. Yet, over my lifetime, I have become an attorney in the sense that I learn more, grow and develop, and move forward in my practice. In the same way, Jesus makes us to become fishers of men, and the first thing we learn is to follow Him like Elisha followed Elijah the prophet (1 Kings 19:19-21). Simon would say later that only Jesus had the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Leaving Your Net. Jesus called Simon and Andrew to leave their entire family business and follow Him (Mark 1:18). You may recall that Simon and Andrew partnered with James and John in a fishing business (Luke 5:7-11). They even had boats and hired servants. Zebedee, the father of James and John, apparently continued the fishing business, even after these four disciples left (Matthew 4:22; John 21:1-11). In our lives, Jesus expects full-time following. For some disciples, they leave their family business. Others leave their government jobs, like tax collecting (Mark 2:14-17). In all cases, Jesus said we must be totally committed to following Him, and leave everything behind. I remember the Psalm: “and besides you, I desire nothing on earth” (Psalm 73:25). Jesus does not call everyone to leave their job, but He does call all of us to follow Him.
Follow Him. Today you will make the same choice Simon and Andrew made by the Sea of Galilee millennia ago. Will you listen to Jesus and follow Him today? Notice the word follow. Jesus did not call us to lead Him. He commanded us to follow Him. You will enjoy today far more if you see your life not as blazing new trails for Christianity, but simply following Jesus were He leads you. Your life becomes all about following, and not leading God. We leave our business, our plans, our hopes and dreams behind–all in favor of following Jesus as our sole purpose in life. As we follow Him, He alone makes us to become fishers of men. He transforms us and profoundly changes our entire lives to be like Him.
So we learn more about fishers of men today.
● Jesus calls people by their names and deals with each of us personally.
● Jesus calls us to follow Him today and He will make us fishers of men.
● Jesus loves you and commands you to become a fisher of men today.
Application for Today
As I live today, I intend to follow Jesus. I want to hear His voice, delight in His love, and open myself to His power to make me a fisher of men today. He will make me into this new person with this mission. I love to fish every day. He prepares me and sends me, all as I follow Him. Will you be and become a fisher of men today?