Throughout Scripture, there are various analogies of evangelism. There’s a shepherd going after lost sheep, a farmer sowing seed and reaping a harvest, and in Matthew 4, Jesus compared it to a commercial fisherman catching fish. The term “fisher of men” was not new. For centuries, the Greek and Roman philosophers used it to describe one who catches others by teaching or persuasion. It was a term of vocation. Since the four men in this passage were commercial fisherman, it is obvious why Jesus used this analogy.
“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…” (Mt. 4:18-19). Notice the words Jesus spoke to Peter and Andrew. He did not say follow my teaching, my morality, or my rules. He said follow ME. Following Jesus is about a relationship. Jesus calls us to go on the journey with Him. I love what the New Testament Commentary Christ-Centered Exposition has to say about this passage. When you look at the context of Matthew 1-4 you find out who it is that invites you to follow. In Matthew 1, we see Jesus is the Savior. He is the Messiah. He is the Son of David born in Israel’s line of kings. Verse 23 says He is Immanuel, God with us. Matthew 2 says Jesus is the Sovereign King that the Wise Men came to worship. He is the one the Old Testament prophets, Micah and Jeremiah, said would come. In Matthew 3 we see He is the Savior King and Righteous Judge. He is the one John the Baptist spoke of and when John baptized Him, the Father declared from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He is filled with the Spirit and loved by the Father. In Matthew 4 He is the new Adam who lived a perfect life. He is the Light of the World. Jesus came teaching, preaching, and healing. This is no ordinary invitation from no ordinary man. Jesus is worthy of far more than our casual association and church attendance. He is worthy of our total abandonment and supreme adoration. I am not asking if you have prayed a prayer, made a decision, walked an isle or signed a card. Have you ever really followed Jesus? If so, your life will look radically different. Jesus changes everything.
“…and I will make you fishers of men” (v. 19). We do not make Him, He makes us. He loved us, sought us, bought us, and chose us. The God who chose Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the disciples has chosen us. We come to Jesus as we are, but He does not leave us as we are. Being a Jesus-follower is not a way of looking at certain things but a certain way of looking at everything! He did not call them because of what they had to offer or bring to the table. He made them into what they could become. Instead of looking for fish all over the lake they would spread the gospel all over the world! Every follower of Jesus is a fisher of men. The call and commission was not just given to the disciples or apostles. It is given to all who follow Jesus. God wants to use your profession. “Fisher of men” was a play on words. God turned their vocation into a calling. Just like God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and we are born to reproduce, we are born again to reproduce. We were found to find others, saved to save others. You may say, “I can’t do that.” “It is not by might, not by power but by My spirit says the Lord.” God would supernaturally enable them to do what they could not do on their own. Jesus said, “I will make you.” It is not information that we need, but transformation!
“Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Mt. 4:21-22). They responded with immediate obedience. They did not know where, but they know the who and when. They were following Jesus and they were following now. The time to follow Jesus is now. They left behind their fishing nets, boats, and careers as commercial fishermen. Following Jesus means we abandon our sin and shame. It means to abandon our will for His will, our way for His way. Following Jesus means we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. We live for one thing, to follow King Jesus.
Are you following Him? Will you ask God who you can bring to Him?