Saturday, May 31, 2008

I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN


Fishing is a sport that is enjoyed by many people both young and old. It is an inexpensive fun pastime that even puts food on the table, if the fish happen to be biting. Some fishermen will go to great lengths and costs to satisfy their passion – wilderness trips – deep-sea fishing, etc. Then there are those who make fishing their livelihood. That’s the kind of fishermen to whom Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."(a)

When we read this command in the gospels we start thinking about evangelism and soul winning. We get uneasy feelings that – we aren’t doing it – afraid to try - don’t know how. Look at this verse again. Our primary responsibility is to “follow Jesus” – He promises to make us fishers of men. Many promises in the Bible are “conditional” which means a condition must first be met before the promise can be fulfilled. This is one of those promises. The condition here is “follow Jesus.”

So what does it mean to follow Jesus? It evidently is something beyond just believing facts about Him. It is the kind of believing that causes us to take life-changing action. For the disciples in this passage, it meant leaving their nets - their commercial business. For Matthew it was the same, he left a lucrative tax collecting job to follow Jesus.(b) I am sure this doesn’t mean that everyone who obeys the “follow me” command of Jesus needs quit their job. That would mean there would be no commerce and society couldn’t function. However, I am sure “following Jesus” requires dramatic changes. It demands that we change from doing what we want, to doing what He wants. It’s striving to walk in His footsteps, to do what He would do in every situation of life. It’s becoming more and more familiar with His teachings and putting them into practice. It’s learning to trust Him without any reservations. It’s submitting to His Lordship. This is a life-long journey.

The result of increasingly living a Christ like life will make Him more and more attractive to people around us. Professing “Christians” who do not demonstrate the likeness of Jesus – saying one thing and living another - are seen as hypocrites by the world and actually hinder people from coming to Jesus. Jesus said “whatever the Father does the Son also does.”(c) By the power of His Holy Spirit, our aim needs to be, to follow Jesus in the same way – doing and saying - what His Spirit prompts us to do and say. Peter says, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:(d )To the degree that we follow in His steps, Jesus promises, "I will make you fishers of men."


Let’s Pray-
Lord, what an awesome promise! Help us to follow you evermore closely – like a little child trying to walk in his daddy’s footprints in the sand. Whatever it costs to “follow you” Lord, we want others to see you in us and be drawn to you.
In your name we pray.
Amen


Footnotes:
(a) Mark 1:17 NIV, Matthew 9:9 NIV, (c) John 5:19 NLT, (d) 1 Peter 3:15,


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1 comment:

NaNcY said...

i remember singing this song when i was small.

God is good.