FISHERS OF MEN (Pt.1)

“And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”(Matthew 4:19 NASB).

Although our Lord was raised primarily in Nazareth, He chose to begin his ministry in the region of Galilee. Perhaps this was because he understood that it would be easier to get his public ministry going in a less “religiously charged atmosphere” like Jerusalem of his day. After all, there were so many diverse religious sects and leaders during that time. He recognized the need to maximize his time (And his efforts) without entangling himself in Age-old religious controversies.

Again, He would soon prove the saying (Although “MORE Than”) that “A prophet is not without honor saving in his own town”. Its pretty easy to be marginalized when who people “thought you were” is not “Who (And Whose) you are. His true God-identity, as the “beloved Son of God” would not merely cause offense but cause many to want to retaliate at the very thought of God sending His Son in such a humble condition. All of this aside…The Scriptures must be fulfilled. “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulon and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “THE LAND OF ZEBULON AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE J ORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES – “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT L IGHT, A ND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17 NASB).

HIS FIRST CATCH

Like a good Stage drama, Matthew captures the First Scene of Jesus’ public ministry. He immediately, following his message to turn (or Return) to God, calls for his first two sets disciples. Both sets were brothers, James and John, Andrew and Peter (See Matthew 4). Is it a coincidence that both sets of brothers were Fishermen by trade? Not likely.

HANDLING THE NETS

Jesus no doubt wanted to help we who watch his example in gathering potential leaders to observe at least three things that qualified them. (1) They had a trade. In other words, they were “employed” or busy. God always chooses those who are engaged in life. Busy people are motivated when opportunity arises. Jesus also knew that “He who is faithful in natural things can be taught How to be faithful in spiritual things”. (2) James and John were found “Washing their nets”(Matthew 5:2). This speaks to me of endeavoring to “keep short accounts” in relationships. Perhaps this is the meaning of “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”(Ephesians 4:26). Be quick to keep relationships clear and clean. (3) Andrew and Peter were found by Jesus “Mending their nets”(Matthew 4:21). The nets would often need repair from the water and load of fishes pulled into the boat and brought ashore with help of partner ships. So it is true that good partnerships in ministry, a network of Kingdom minded friends, help bring in the Harvest. It is interesting that this was true of the apostle Paul. Although he is often held up as the great apostolic, missionary model…he always acknowledged the “Team” of workers who labored with him.

Our Lord Jesus taught, by way of example, that nothing is ever accomplished alone. Today, like never before, effective ministry leaders understand that “THE NETWORK WORKS”.

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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