The Sea of Galilee is a deep water lake about twelve and a half miles long and seven and a half miles wide, and today, the tilapia caught there is commonly referred to as “St. Peter’s Fish.” At the time of Christ, fishermen by trade sought their daily catch, casting tent-shaped throw nets onto the water.
Years ago, my wife and I visited Israel and one morning we got up early to watch the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee. What an unforgettable and beautiful sunrise! It could have been a morning like that when Jesus walked along the sea and called out to Peter and Andrew and then to James and John, and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).
Have you responded to the invitation of the Master Fisherman? This invitation unfolds three progressive blessings.
The Priority of Personal Relationship
The word translated “Follow” is rendered “Come” in the parallel account in Mark. The translation in Matthew carries the nuance of their response “They…followed him” (Matt. 4:20). The word is used like a command but is really more of an invitation to know Jesus. He said, Follow—neither fishing nor training, not a career or sanctification or service. Rather, “FollowMe.” This is an appeal for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an invitation to walk with Jesus, to converse with Him and yield to His leadership and power.
The Promise of Supernatural Transformation
Follow Jesus and He promises to transform you. “I will make you” (“I will make you to become” in the parallel account in Mark) implies a process. As you follow in faith, He enables with grace. He, by His Spirit, will equip you with the divine truth of the Gospel, and He may lead you to a study of evangelism. The more Gospel truth you know increases your capacity to witness to a greater audience as the Holy Spirit works through your cooperating faculties (and not around them). Further, as you trust Him, He will equip you with the divine power of the Holy Spirit and enable you to speak unashamedly of Jesus as He enables hearers to understand (Luke 11:13; John 7:37-39). He will lead you to engage in witnessing through age-old applications like door-to-door visits and home Bible studies or with new, innovative applications like coffee shop evangelism. As you follow Jesus, He will love people through you and draw people to Himself through your Spirit-led witness.
The Purpose of Making Disciples
The relationship blessing leads to a transformation blessing which leads to a new purpose blessing. A journey with the Master Fisherman leads you to become a “fisher of men.” In the biblical account, this meant a change of vocation for Peter, Andrew, James and John as it has for others in more recent times. John R. Rice is one who followed Jesus, which was his heart even as he pursued a career in education and politics, and Jesus led him into full-time evangelism. For some in secular work, it may not involve a career change, but it will involve a focus change regardless of occupation.
In the biblical narrative the disciples responded to the invitation of Christ. They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Over time, Jesus made them into effective fishers as seen in the account of Acts. Will you follow Jesus and begin a journey with the Master Fisherman?
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.