In the first century, fishing was a lucrative business that provided substantial assets for many families, pushing them just above the status of most commoners. In most cases, fishing businesses were family-owned and operated, meaning it was a fundamental source of provision and security – a generational inheritance and advantage. For one to leave the family business would mean to leave everything that mattered.
Matthew 4 recounts Jesus calling his first four disciples. Two sets of brothers, Simon and Andrew, James and John, were called by Jesus to leave the family business of fishing to follow Jesus full-time. Jesus called them to be “fishers of men.” They followed immediately.
Instead of fishing, they would now recruit men and women for the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God was inaugurated when Jesus, the embodiment of God’s authority and rule, stepped into the narrative of human history and announced the “good news.” Jesus builds God’s kingdom by using obedient followers who listen to his voice and act on his commands.
Jesus’ words “Follow me” appear thirteen times in Matthew’s gospel. Although his disciples then were called to follow him literally in the sense of doing life with him, the call to follow still meant for them what it means for us today: willing submission under his authority and living in obedience to his commands.
Jesus’ command to make fishers of men is a command he gives all his followers.
Do we understand his authority?
With all the authority in heaven and on earth, Jesus, the Sovereign over creation, calls his people as a king calls his subjects, with demands that cannot be ignored. His call may reach our ears, but more importantly, it must penetrate our hearts.
You may have heard the outward call to become fishers of men, but have you listened to the inward call?
Are you eager to see others know Jesus?
Are you urgent in prayer for the souls of others?
Are you intentional in building relationships with the lost?
Are your actions and words pointing to Christ?
Casting our reels into the deep, we match Jesus’ call to follow him with our obedience and devotion, living for the lives of others and dying each day to ourselves.
We are all broken but sincere and devoted followers of Jesus. He is our first priority and our most significant treasure, our reward, and the most valuable and essential relationship we have. There is no one greater or more relevant.
We love and serve Jesus first. He goes before our own family, yes, even our own lives. We believe that committing ourselves to him is to experience life as God intended, and belonging to him is our heart’s most vital cry.
In him, we find peace, joy, fullness, and all of God’s wisdom and truth.
In him, we find our identity, our hope, and our future. We find ourselves, truly for the first time, when we give away our lives for his sake.
Jesus commissions us to recruit men and women for the kingdom of God.
This is his command: Be “fishers of men.”
And this is our joy: Hear his call and follow him.