If you randomly asked me, what do you think was Jesus’ favorite food; without a doubt I would immediately utter Fish! He hung out with fishermen who ultimately became Fishers of Men.
He turned five barley loaves and two fishes into a massive buffet to feed thousands of people. He commanded his disciples to pay taxes by collecting the sum from a fish’s mouth.
So it would be easy to assume that his favorite meal was fish, don’t you agree?
Lifestyle of Fishermen
Jesus spent most of his earthly ministry around the Sea of Galilee which had about thirty fishing towns and Capernaum was the largest. Fishing was a popular commercial activity and most times passed down from one generation to the next as a means to sustain one’s family.
For example, in Matthew 4:18-19, Jesus called his first disciples, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew who were both in the process of casting their nets, and shortly after; he called two other brothers; James and John who were out fishing with their father, Zebedee.
Though the activity looked simple from an outsider looking in; fishing was a very tough job.
Fishermen spent most of their nights setting their baskets at specific locations with the hope of having a huge catch to be able to sell in the fishing markets the next day.
Some days the returns were great and other days the fishermen were frustrated with the lack of progress.
Peter could relate to this when he complained to Jesus in Luke 5: 5-11 about toiling all night and didn’t catch anything.
Fish was also the common food of the day and in high demand; that is why the industry was highly competitive.
No One Aspired To Be Fishermen
This was a messy, smelly job for an ordinary person seeking to maintain his family. Fishermen were regarded as unlearned, haggard, and arrogant.
The fishing villages were filled with much cursing and vulgarity as the competition intensified to get their goods sold.
Nevertheless, Jesus didn’t seek to recruit his disciples from those well learned in the temple. He didn’t choose those from the upper echelon of society.
Instead He made his choice from a group of men that society would never consider.
Jesus and the Fishermen
When Jesus saw Simon Peter and Andrew his brother, he told them “follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.”
Jesus used a terminology that they both could understand since this is what they did for a living.
It was Jesus’ intention to use an ordinary skill and lessons learned from the experience of fishing to propel the Kingdom of God.
Jesus wanted to move them from an ordinary lifestyle to one that was spiritual and impactful.
Instead of casting their nets for fishes, Jesus wanted to teach them how to catch souls.
That’s one thing we can appreciate about Jesus, you can never have an interaction with him and remain the same.
The disciples thought that their life’s purpose was solely centered on fishing but Jesus had greater things in mind.
The Bible said immediately, they left their nets and followed Jesus.
Like the disciples, God can use you in a far more impactful and purposeful way on one condition; you’ve got to be willing and available.
Why The Fishermen Were Chosen
Fishermen, although rash, unlearned, and mostly unkempt possessed some unique abilities and transferable skills that would greatly advance the Kingdom of God:
- They were patient – In most instances, fish don’t bite the bait the moment that it is set. It can be hours and for some, it can take days but the fishermen could never predict what the outcome would be but they were hopeful that it would end in a great catch.
- Application: As we win souls for Christ and tell people about Jesus, not everyone will eventually be saved. It’s our duty nonetheless to share the gospel and pray that ultimately they’ll come to know the God you do. To learn more about the fruit of being patient read How to Plant Seeds to Grow the Fruits of the Spirit.
- They were prepared – Fishermen understood the importance of making their baits, mending their nets, securing their equipment, and going out to sea in the best weather. Although that does not guarantee a great catch; it gives them a great advantage.
- Application: We can prepare ourselves for evangelism by strengthening our walk with God through consistent fellowship, prayer, reading of God’s word, and obedience to him. This will help us to confidently communicate who God is but even most importantly the way we live; will tell the best story.
- They were resilient – In the business of fishing; it was easy to become unmotivated. There’ll be times when the catch is consistent and the spoilage is low and there are times when there’s just consistent defeat. Nevertheless, they had the determination to stick with it.
- Application: As you pray for your families, co-workers, spouse, and strangers to be saved; it may take years before your prayer is answered or there’s fruit from your consistent witness. Some days you’ll be discouraged and even rejected by many but keep going. It is the Lord who gives the increase.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
Lessons for Today’s Fishermen
This job description wasn’t just for the disciples of Jesus’ day but it applies to us in this modern world. How can you execute your job well?
- Read God’s Word to know more about him.
- Tell a friend or anyone you meet
- Share God’s goodness to you and ways he has helped you
- Pray and depend on Jesus for his guidance
- Press on even when rejected, it’s just a part of the process
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”