Reading: Mark Chapter 1
Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)
Jesus began His public ministry in obedience to the will of God His Father. His obedience began when He stepped down from His heavenly home, stripped off Hs kingly robe, left eternity, came to earth, and became a helpless babe. Jesus chose to enter humanity and became like one of us – in human flesh, with human emotions. He became a child and then a teenager, subject to the authority of his earthly parents – Joseph and Mary. Jesus followed the tradition and culture of His land, spoke the language of the Jews, and worked with His earthly father as a craftsman/carpenter. Maybe when He was little, He also played with His brothers and sisters.
Just before Jesus was known to the public as a prophet of God, John declared His coming:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’” (Mark 1:3)
To follow the tradition of the priests’ purification, Jesus also came to John for baptism.
“It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up [c]from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11)
After John baptized Jesus, John was put in prison, and just in time Jesus started His public ministry.
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [g]is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (V. 14-15)
Jesus began preaching and teaching the Words of God to the people of Israel. Jesus also knew His time on earth was limited, so as He proclaimed the Words of God, He also chose and called other men to come along and learn from Him. He asked Simon, Andrew, and other men to follow Him. (v. 15)
17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (v.17)
Jesus knew those men and their hearts. Even though they were ordinary men, their hearts were longing for the coming of the Messiah, or Savior.
Why did Jesus not call the priests or the Pharisees? I don’t know, and I am not sure why. The twelve disciples believed Jesus was their Savior, and they were not close-minded like the priests. The disciples learned from Jesus. They saw Him heal many sick people, cleanse lepers (v.40), and perform other signs and wonders. They had experienced the power and wonders of Jesus, especially the manifest, physical presence of God on earth.
What does it mean to be “fishers of men”? As fishermen catch fish for living, fishers of men catch people for the Kingdom of God. There are many people who are lost in the ocean of life. If no one catches them, they will drown in sin and die at the bottom of the ocean. They will perish forever in hell, away from the presence of our Creator God. (See Revelation 20: 12-15). Fishers of men are followers of Jesus who chose to do what Jesus did – preach the Good news of salvation and forgiveness of sins, to receive the love of God and to be part of His Kingdom.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)
Jesus is still calling men and women to follow Him. The call of Jesus is still the same to those who believe Him,“Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
As the first disciples and followers of Jesus experienced His manifest power to heal the sick, deliver the oppressed from demons, and preach the Good news of salvation. Jesus still gives the same power to those who will follow Him to be fishers of men.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your call and invitation to follow You to be fishers of men. Help us, Your Church, the Christians, to follow Your call to be fishers of men, to preach and teach the Good News of Salvation, and to make disciples.
Bible verses from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3&version=NKJV