Summary: The best fishermen often have expensive rods and reels and lures. But these are only tools. If those tools don’t help them catch fish, they’re worthless. What tools do we use to "catch" souls for Jesus and how does Jesus turn us into "fishers of men"?

A couple of guys named Ed and Fred had gone fishing for the very first time in their lives. They went out and bought themselves a couple of rods and reels, went down to the lake and rented a boat at the boat rental place and rowed out to a likely place and let down their anchor.

They’d read enough about fishing to know how to bait their hooks and how to cast their lines, and after a few practice casts they settled into catching fish.

And boy, did they catch fish. It seemed that just about every time their line hit the water, a fish hit the line. They caught so many fish that they were really getting excited. But eventually it started getting dark and they needed to get the boat back to the rental place and head home.

Fred went to the prow of the boat and began hauling in the anchor, when he turned around to see Ed pull out a jackknife and start carving an “X” in bottom of the boat.

Fred said “What do you think you’re doing?”

Ed looked up and replied “I’m marking this spot so we can find it again!”

"Oh, don’t be stupid, Ed!" his friend growled. "That won’t do any good. What if we get a different boat?"

How many of you like to fish?

(a large portion of the audience raised their hands).

Fishing can be a very fun and relaxing pastime.

But there are a lot of people who carry this pastime to a higher level.

I know of one man in this community that has spent several thousand dollars on his rods and reels, and who has competed in various competitions… and even been on one of the TV shows where sports fishermen like him go out and see who can catch the biggest catch and the largest fish.

Competitions like the one he competes in can offer over a million dollars in cash and prizes, and the folks who fish like this spend serious money on their equipment.

I looked on the internet and found

• One rod can cost up to $500 or more

• A good fishing reel can run anywhere from $500 to $3500

• And boats? I found this 2012 bass boat and trailer on the internet (showed a picture of one beautiful bass boat I’d found online). You can have this baby for a mere $49,000.

Now this kind of equipment is for sports fishermen. They compete for cash prizes in contests where the cash and prizes can often exceed over million dollars for just one event.

And they don’t even keep the fish!!!

They catch them and then release them.

APPLY: Back in the days of Peter, James and John - these guys weren’t sports fishermen. They didn’t “catch and release”.

They caught fish for a living.

This wasn’t a pastime for them.

This was their livelihood.

And they’d been fishing ALL DAY and not caught a thing. They were tired. They were frustrated. And they wanted to put their nets up for the day. There was no use going out to fish now. The day was too hot and the fish would seek deeper water where no net could reach.

So, Peter, James and John beached the boats, and begun wash and dry their nets. This was long tedious work, but it had to be done so they’d be ready to go out the next day.

Then… along came Jesus.

Jesus was preaching. He was so popular that a crowd soon gathered to hear Him and they were crowding around Him as He neared the lake.

Then we’re told He “saw” two boats at the edge of the water. He got into the one belonging to Simon Peter and asked him to go out into the waters so He could use the boat as a place to teach from.

Now, that may seem a bit presumptuous - Jesus just stepping into a strange fisherman’s boat. Why would He do that?

Well, Jesus wasn’t really a stranger to Peter or the others. In the gospel of John we’re told that Peter’s brother Andrew:

“…found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).” John 1:40-42 ESV

So, Peter KNEW Jesus.

He’d already been personally introduced.

From the day Peter first met Jesus I think he developed a liking for this new Rabbi. I suspect that would slip away (once in a while) to hear Christ preach. It was a pleasant diversion from the daily grind of his usual life… and he actually felt better after having listened to Jesus preach.

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