“Come follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” (Matthew 4:19).
I have fond memories of my dad taking me to a farm in rural Kentucky which had several farm ponds that were rarely fished. In one hand I had a small tackle box of my own with cheap lures and hooks, and in the other hand I had a styrofoam container of nightcrawlers we purchased at a small roadside store with a handmade sign which read, “Live Bait.” In my boyhood mind, I imagined myself to be some professional fisherman as the crappie, bass, and catfish from these ponds would take my hook, even without bait!
We’d like to think that evangelism would be easy like this. “If I just tell people to come to church with me and a short sentence about Jesus, thousands will just come to church services!” Man fishing is far more challenging. Our passions are right, but to fish for men we need more. Man fishing reveals our need for Jesus.
We need Jesus because Jesus alone makes us into fishers of men. “I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus teaches us and His work in us makes us into evangelists. His Spirit gifts us, His Word equips us, His saints encourage us and build us up, and His gospel upon our lips is God’s power to save.
We need Jesus because Jesus alone catches fish. Sinful people are like fish in the water in that their home is sin just like water to a fish. They have to be caught out of their sinful waters. No amount of moral reasoning, church invitation, church statistics, or charisma from preachers will save them. Jesus alone saves, as the Word declares, “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8).
We speak about what we love. When we are so overwhelmed with the display of Jesus’ love in His dying our death, we are compelled by His love to follow Him and evangelize (II Corinthians 5:14). To evangelize is to speak about Who we love, His gospel work, persuading people to believe in Jesus and follow Him.
Jesus says, “follow Me.” We must be followers of Jesus, and He will make us people fishers with His gospel and witness Christ’s work of making new people fishers who follow Him.
O Father, overwhelm us by Your steadfast love to compel us to speak of Who we love to a dying world drowning in sin. Make us people fishers, Lord. Teach us, equip us, and send us. May we witness the powerful gospel work in the fish we catch. Amen.