Summary: God has called us to be fishers of men.
My dad’s from Minnesota. Does anyone here know what Minnesota is known for? Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. Just about everyone in Minnesota fishes. Now, my dad once told me the story about a peculiar fisherman from Minnesota. You see, this fisherman was very well prepared. He knew how to fish. He had everything you need to be a good fisherman. He had poles, nets, bait, and even a really nice boat, but this fisherman had a problem. You see, for all his preparation he never caught anything. Not one fish. Not one, not ever. And you know why he never caught a fish? What do you think? The answers easy: He never went fishing. He had all the knowledge and all the equipment, but he never got into the boat, he never left the dock. Today on this anniversary Sunday, we are going to talk about fishing. Because God wants us to thank him for the blessings of the past by going fishing, but as we see in our text for this morning, not for fish, but for men. God wants us to go fishing for basically two reasons: because he has prepared us to go and because he has called us to go fishing.
I. Because God has prepared us
In text for this morning we see Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry. He has just spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. The news on the street is that John the Baptist, who had baptized him only a few weeks earlier had been thrown in jail. So Jesus travels up to the land where he grew up, Galilee, and begins to preach, "the good news of God." The good news of God. It was kind of like those newspaper boys in the olden days, yelling from the corner of the street, "Extra, Extra read all about it…"
And that’s basically what Jesus did. He went into Galilee proclaiming this good news. He yelled out, "the time has come, the kingdom of God is near." The time has come. Every event of the past, everything that would happen in the future meet at this point in history. We can literally say that this was history’s defining moment. Jesus had come to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. He had come to bring the Kingdom of God, that is he came to rule in peoples hearts. That’s what the Kingdom of God is: that God rules in peoples hearts.
But before he could reign in their hearts, they had to first see their need for him, and so Jesus used one simple word. He said, "repent." Repent, one little word that literally brings men to their knees. For with this word, men were shown the mirror of the law, the law that they knew all to well, the law of Moses, the Ten Commandments. In this law they could see that they hadn’t even kept one of God’s commandments perfectly as he demands. In this law they saw the punishment they deserved, the eternal suffering and anguish of hell. All in one little word, "repent." With this one word, Jesus showed them that they needed a Savior, that they needed him.
But he didn’t stop there. He told them, "believe the good news." And what was this good news? It was the good news that God had come to earth, it was the good news that the Savior so long awaited, the Savior that they so desperately needed had come to suffer and die for their sins. "Extra, extra read all about, God is here to save us!"