Fishing for Men


Fishing is one of those pursuits of men that gets deep into their soul and becomes a part of who they are, their very identity. So it was with with Peter, James and John. The same Peter, James and John who were more than just followers of Jesus, more than just apostles, but who were indeed the three people on the planet who were closest to Jesus.
Jesus called these three (plus one – Peter’s brother Andrew) straight off their fishing boats in the Sea of Galilee. His call on the three was a progressive call. We first see them in John 1:35-42, where apparently they were first followers of John the Baptist. Behold, the Lamb of God! When John declared this in the presence of two of them, they stopped following John and began following Jesus. They would continue to return to their boats and the call of those fish from the water. In Matthew Chapter 4 Jesus calls them off their boats, then in Luke Chapter 5 we see the strongest call yet.
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. Notice here that Jesus, though still calling his first disciples, already has a following. He had been publicly baptized, the went away for His temptation in the wilderness, and preached in the synagogue. He is apparently making quite a name for Himself, because the crowd is pressing into Him by the lake to hear him teach. So, he hops into Peter’s boat to get a little bit of separation from the crowd.

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And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” Notice that Peter calls Him “Master”. This is not the first time they’ve met. At this point, he’s apparently already a follower of Jesus. Not only that, but Peter already has enough faith in the word of Christ to make the effort when, to him, it seemed hopeless. It was already daylight, night was the time for fishing. He had fished all night and hotter nothing, how was he going to catch fish in the daylight? But at your word I will let down the nets. Not when the time seems right to me, or when al, the conditions are just right, but at your word.
And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. The miracle here is probably not that Jesus supernaturally called the fish to the side of the boat. But He had a keen eye, and probably saw a shoal of fish out in the water He directed the boats to. In the Sea of Galilee, there are sometimes large schools of fish that just roil in the water, churning it up the point that the surface appears as though it’s raining. These shoals sometimes cover an area of over an acre. So it’s likely Jesus saw one of these large shoals and directed the boats to a great catch. Or, maybe He did supernaturally call the fish…


But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Peter certainly thought it was supernatural. He believed Jesus to be Messiah all the way from John the Baptist, and this confirmed his belief. Obviously Peter didn’t want Jesus to leave – he followed Jesus all the way through to his own crucifixion. This was probably Peter’s version of a sinners prayer – “Jesus have mercy on me, because I am a sinner!”


And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. And so Jesus turned these fishermen into fishers of men. The call of Peter, James and John, the three He took everywhere – even when He wanted to be “alone”. But I don’t think they ever gave up casting their nets into the water. Even after Jesus’ resurrection, they are still at it in John chapter 21. I’m guessing they never gave it up completely. Maybe they just wanted to remember Jesus that way. Maybe they just couldn’t resist the call of those fish. Fishing for fish, or fishers of men, fishing was just a part of who they were.
“On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:1-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/luk.5.1-11.esv
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And 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, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:18-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.4.18-22.esv
“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:35-42‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/jhn.1.35-42.esv
John Lewis

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