Evangelism

Fishermen - Fishers of Men

This is a devotional written by Marina Johnson

Luke 5:1-11

5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people."11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Reflection

Today Jesus shows us how he means for his followers to be human fishermen, who win people for His kingdom. The comparison is between trusting Jesus to help them gather fish and trusting Jesus to help them gather people.

We see that it is by Jesus' power and authority that people come to faith, but that this is through the evangelistic work or agency of man. His disciples display some key characteristics:

> People were swarming to hear the word of God being shared, it was the bait being used for man-fishing!

> Obeying the commands of Jesus even when it didn’t make sense (v4). If Simon had not obeyed, there would probably have been no catch. God accepts his half-hearted obedience (v5) and does the miracle anyway.

> Working together with other transformed sinners to bring people to faith. Peter had to call his mates to come and help him pull in the great catch of fish. He couldn’t do it alone.

> Humbling themselves and being aware of their own sinfulness (v8). They didn’t say: Check out the blessing we got when we followed Jesus, biggest catch of fish ever, we should market this! Peter recognises his own sinfulness and this doesn't disqualify him from catching men for Christ; it qualifies him.

It may be true that you aren’t gifted in evangelism or called to do it full time. Simon didn't fully give up fishing when he followed Jesus, his life now included his occupation plus harvesting the mission field alongside Jesus. We see that God takes ordinary people like these fishermen and turns them into agents for catching other people for God. How do you shy away from sharing your faith with those God has put around you?

Will you trust God when He speaks and instructs, and not question Him. "Because You say so, I will let down my nets"
 

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