As You Follow You Will Fish

As You Follow You Will Fish

Daily Reading: (Matthew 4:19):

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen” (Matthew 4:18).  The most ordinary thing that you would see if you were out walking the Sea of Galilee, would be fishermen at work. There was nothing special about Peter and Andrew. They were regular guys doing an ordinary everyday job, and Jesus reached out to them with an invitation that would change their entire lives. Come, follow me,” Jesus said,“and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19).

“Come, follow me,” and then the promise comes. If you will do this, if you will follow me, I will send you out to fish for people. So, as you follow you will fish.

What is interesting is that Jesus doesn’t use this fishing line (pun intended) with all the disciples that He called. Remember he doesn’t just call fisherman to fish for men, He calls a tax collector, a physician, and others, but the invitation is always the same, “follow me.”

“Follow me, and I will take who you are and what you do (fisherman, tax collector, doesn’t matter), and I will put it to Kingdom use, resulting in people being saved.God gave us varying gifts to be used for His glory and also for our enjoyment. And now Peter and Andrew,instead of using your gifts and passions and marketplace skills for your own sole benefit, I will help you use those gifts to bless others in the greatest way possible, to extend an invitation for others to follow Jesus.

One of the greatest things I have learned about going out and fishing for people is that it is all about following Jesus.The word Jesus used when He says“I will send you out to fish for people,” is (poieō). Poieō means to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about), to make ready, to prepare, to produce, bear, shoot forth, to make a thing out of something. Fishing for people happens as a result of following Jesus. This is what Christ does in me.  Yes, He uses our talents and abilities quite often to do this, but even out our God-given abilities, it is Christ producing the success of fishing for people.  This is freeing because this is a promise to us, that as we spend time with our Savior, He will prepare us, make us ready and cause us to fish. He sets up the divine appointments bringing people across our path, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see the opportunities before us and He even gives us the words to say when we are presented with the opportunity to let the light of Christ shine. Fishing for people is not formulaic it is organic and it comes by way of the Spirit’s leading.

Now let’s see what transpires after the calling of these two fishermen and the promise of making them into fishers of men.

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them.Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed Him.” (Matthew 4:23-25). When He was on earth, Jesus, God’s perfect will in action, healed all who were brought to Him (Matthew 4:23–24). Jesus demonstrated how fishing was done by teaching, preaching, and healing.

Let’s fast forward in time when Jesus has already been crucified and He is about to appear to the disciples who are called to be fishers of men not fishermen. You catch my drift? The fishing puns continue. So, in John 21 verse 3 we pick this up:

 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, (he was going back to his life before his calling of fishing for men) and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So, they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. There is a bruise to the ego. That night they caught nothing. The disciples’ self-effort did not produce the desired catch they were looking for (John 21:3). Their emptiness is an opportunity for an over abundant filling from Jesus (John 21:3 & 6). As they follow (“throw your net on the right side”) then they will have a successful catch.

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish” I love Jesus’ question because is really isn’t about fish, it is really about people which we will see moving forward.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” We have some serious symbolism going on here. The right side represented believers or those who would come to believe. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right (believers), and the goats on the left (Matthew 25:33-34). 

The ship the disciples were on was an emblem of the church; the right side is symbolic of hauling in those who will enter into the Kingdom, the casting of the net to catch the fish signifies the preaching of the Gospel the assurance Christ gives of the success of his Word in hauling in a catch. As you cast your net by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, you will haul in a catch (fish/people).

Now in verses 10 and 11:Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.”

153 seems to be a little too specific of a number to not have some significance. So, there are a few things we know. The fish represent people. We found that out to begin with in our verse in Matthew 4:19. Also, the timing of this miracle is when Jesus is about to physically leave them, so this is significant in that apart from Christ you will have no success in bringing in fish/people to the Kingdom.

Some researchers have counted how much people Jesus healed 153 people in 48 separate incidents mentioned in the 4 Gospels.[1] At that time there was believed to be 153 known nations,[2] the fish would represent people being saved from every tribe, people, and language (Revelation 7:9). Also in Hebrew numerology, the number 153 is the phrase Ani Elohim (“I am God”).[3] God is the One who produced the catch.

Now as fishers of men, Jesus said in John 14:12:“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” The church working together, oh, wait a catch we have in store for us.  

[1] Al Maxey.

[2] Gants Hill URC. 153: The Importance of Numbers in the Bible.

[3] Brady Stephenson. 153 Fishes= I AM G-D? May 9, 2015.


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