FISHERS OF MEN
Mark 1:16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
In this account by Mark, and also with Matthew’s report, all this sounds a little matter-of-fact. But Luke makes us aware of the powerful spirit of revelation from the Lord Jesus that strikes a strong sense of awe in the disciples. Listen at the following verses from Luke’s account:
Luke 5:7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
The Amplified Bible states that Greek rendering of the word translated, “amazement” as, “gripped with bewildering amazement – allied to terror.” The very words from Peter’s mouth reveal this, for he, without doubt, would not ever want the Lord to “depart” from him! But his strong and sudden words are most appropriate as a response to the powerful presence of glory and holiness that came from the spirit of Christ!
It is the same kind of thing we read when the Lord reveals himself to Isaiah after the death of his former mentor, King Uzziah. Here is that account. Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Would to God we had such effect in out traditional and predictable church services today!
And as we have begun to look back into the Old Testament to see things concerning this situation, we need to also see that this analogy of fishing for men was also of ancient prophesy. Here are some examples: Isaiah 42:10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 15 I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The salvation of the elect peoples of God have been purposed by the Lord God from all eternity! And the mystery that the Apostle Paul held so dear to his heart was that the Gentiles were also included in those immutable purposes! Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
And here are some additional Old Testament passages concerning this allegory of fishing for men: Psalm 107:21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. 23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
Ezekiel 47:9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.
And in Luke’s account we also have an item not seen in the other gospels. Luke states that the Lord Jesus entered Peter’s ship and had him trust out from the land in order that he might continue to teach the people. For it states in verse one they were pressing upon him to hear the word of God! Therefore we have another occurrence the Lord now uses from ancient time. For here again is the Word upon the water!
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. We know that it was “God Said,” who called everything into existence, in distinction from Himself! Romans 4:17 … even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Everything was brought into existence by the Word on those waters! Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
And so the apostle informs us that the origination of faith in the new creation comes forth by the same pattern. 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Therefore the Spirit’s revealing the Person of the Word to the heart is the only means of faith being originated in the sinner, who is then the new creation. For mankind is represented by the waters! Revelation 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
We also see another similarity in the Spirit’s work in the creation account in Genesis with his work with the body of believers. In the Genesis account we read of the waters, being “gathered together.” Genesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Then in Ephesians we read of the “gathering together” of all the redeemed in Christ Jesus! Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Therefore in the Genesis account as we read of his “gathering together” the physical waters in order for the dry land – that from which man is both created and sustained – to appear. So we read in the Ephesians account of the “gathering together” of spiritual man in order for it to appear that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who has created us by his redemptive blood and grace, and shall sustain us throughout eternity! John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. It is as the Apostle Paul preached in Athens, For in him we live, and move, and have our being; (Acts 17:28).
Then we notice that these fishers worked upon the waters. They had to ‘launch out’ onto the waters in a ship in order to do their work. Those who are sent out as the Lord’s ministers must go into all the world to preach His gospel. Yet they are, in the new man, spiritually above the masses, who are yet unconverted. For they sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. They are IN the world, but they are not OF the world.
But their master has the power to walk upon the waters! Mark 6:48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: The gospel ministers have great affect upon the masses of humanity, but the Lord Jesus Christ is above them all. He is in absolute sovereign control of every person and every thing in this world! John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
And we notice that these fishers had only one implement to extract the fish from the waters. They used a net. There was no bait! The Whore church uses whatever means she deems necessary that will obtain ‘results,’ for getting souls into her organization. But not so with the Lord’s fishers of men! For being sovereign over all things, he gathers them at his appointed time and place! Ecclesiastes 9:12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
And thus it is in his kingdom! Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. These go to a well for water, and being suddenly and unexpectedly caught in His net, come back with the water of life! These climb a tree for sight advantage, but come down with a new vision! These ride upon their high horse to persecute His saints, but are cast to the ground proclaiming, “Who are thou, Lord?” These pray privately under a tree, thinking it to be in secret, but he tells them of the very fig tree which they were under, and of his view of them there! If he grants the Evil One permission to take them captive at his will, (2 Tim. 2:26), how much greater is his authority to do so?
But there is one occasion in which he commanded them to “cast an hook.” In Matthew 17:24-27, his sends Peter to catch one fish in this manner, in order to obey the law of paying their tribute money. One hook. One fish. One purpose. A one time event. The Lord’s people are sent at times to venture by faith, based on the Lord’s specific command, into a realm in which they themselves could not survive. The fish lives in an environment in which the believer cannot exist. He must go beyond his own dominion and delve unto a realm, by faith, for his supply! The Lord alone knows the one fish who gulped up the shiny object that did not belong in his realm. He alone will, without natural directions, send Peter to the exact spot, at the exact time the fish will be there. The just SHALL live by faith!
This is reminiscent of the priest’s hook that he used to obtain his and his family’s supper from the boiling sacrifice, brought to the temple by the Israelite. Ezekiel 44:29 They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
1 Samuel 2:13 And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; 14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.
Those who are sent forth by the Sovereign Christ shall never go lacking as they continue to live by faith in him. They all have the testimony of David, who proclaims in Psalm 37:25, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Whether net or hook, the gospel ministry is accomplishing their master’s will!
Pastor Gene Breed; March 7, 2014