Summary: At one point of our lives, Jesus came by and we heard His call to follow Him.We responded and followed Him. But it did not end there –Jesus had a plan, just like to these four disciples we have in our text, a very wonderful plan to make us “fishers of men
Theme: Fishers of Men
Text: Mark 1: 16-20
A. One day, when Peter and Andrews, James and John were on their usual work as ordinary fishermen, Jesus came by the shore of Galilee and called them to follow Him with a promise to make them “fishers of men”. They never expected that moment. They never planned that appointment with Jesus. Never did they know that that was the most significant pivotal point of their lives. Jesus went to them. It was the Lord who had divinely appointed that momentous time for these four ordinary fishermen.
At one point of our lives, Jesus came by and we heard His call to follow Him. We did not plan for it nor expected such encounter. But Jesus went out to see and touch us –it was the Lord who had divinely appointed that very important moment of our lives when we encountered and knew Him, the Savior. That was the reason why we are here. What a momentous day for us! We responded and followed Him. But it did not end there –Jesus had a plan, just like to these four disciples we have in our text, a very wonderful plan to make us “fishers of men.”
Every Christian who is called to follow the Lord is also called to become fishers of men. There’s no exception, and there’s no alternative whatsoever in its place.
B. What this call is all about? I always read and heard sermons expounding this phrase to mean the work of evangelism. The principles of fishing were applied and employed to evangelism. They are good, relevant and importantly applicable. But while it is true, it’s not limited to the confinement of evangelism. In fact, this call is also about us –what we should become, what we should be doing, and about what we should be experiencing.
1. A CALL FOR A NOBLE ABANDONMENT.
It sounds absurd. And yes it is. Abandonment itself is absurd. Think of a father abandoning his family; a mother abandoning her home; children abandoning their parents. And how it wrecks relationships and destroy lives. But wait –what about Jesus leaving his glory and his heavenly throne? What about His willful abandonment from the full exercise of His deity by subjecting himself to the limitations of humanity just to provide the way of salvation for sinners? Isn’t it divine and noble abandonment? Yes it is. And we know that there are countless of missionaries leaving their homes, their families, and their comforts to help other people see the love of God through Christ. They made a noble abandonment.
When the Master called them to “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”, they left their nets. It appears so simple, effortless, and so ordinary. There seems no significance and nobility of their action. But look to the reality behind it –they abandoned the life they used to live, the person they used to be, the only means they knew to support their families a living, and the only thing where they build their dreams, hopes and aspirations. Actually, they left no small thing! They left their only known comfort and security.
When you respond to the call of the Lord to follow Him and become “fisher of men”, you must be abandoning something. There will be things that you must give up. One is your old way of living. You must leave behind the life you used to live and the person you used to be before you know the Savior. Your old self –oh, there are a lot of things in the self that should be abandoned: its desire to be the center, its desire to be served, and its desire for exaltation.
Responding the call of the Lord to follow Him and become fisher of men may also mean that you are to abandon your “comfort zones”. It is lamentable that a lot of people say they love the Lord but are not willing to endure the sacrifices of the Christian walk. We should not forget that there are sacrifices along the way as we follow the Lord. There is no easy road to discipleship. We are promised with a narrow road. There are times that we must give up some of our time, some of our rest, some of our money, or some of our precious possession for the Lord. This is noble abandonment. And God promised, “He who left everything because of Me and the Gospel will receive a hundredfold.”
2. A CALL FOR A NOBLE LIFE
They were just ordinary fishermen. They have nothing to be proud of except maybe their dignity as industrious provider of their families. To the world where education is a virtue, fishing is less dignified occupation. It’s the only alternative way to make a living for those who are not able to get an education. Thus, there is nothing noble in being a fisherman of their time. In fact there was a time when the Pharisees derided these fishermen-turned-disciples of Jesus as unlearned men.