Fishers of Men
Continuing our conversation on evangelism, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us to be evangelized, or gospeled, before we can effectively be involved in evangelizing, or gospeling, others! And as was said last time, this is a lifelong process.
In Matthew 4 Jesus invited some fishermen, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Here we see clearly the priority of fist following Jesus, and then in the process of following to allow ourselves to be made fishers of men. It is probably helpful to say a word concerning the image Jesus uses in Matthew 4 for the evangelizing enterprise. He compares it with fishing! But it is important we have an accurate picture for this, one that our Lord’s originally hearers would have had.
As one who enjoys fishing, I relate to fishing with the use of a hook, line, and sinker. The idea is enticement. You bait the hook, or use a lure with hooks attached. The idea is to fool the fish. It is deceptive by nature. Think of it, man in all his brilliance tries to outsmart a fish! And if you succeed, you set the hook and reel in the scaled swimmer of the sea.
But there is something a little fishy about this image! Would it be fitting to attract folks to God’s reign (His Kingdom) by enticement or false advertisement? I don’t think so!
It is important to understand the image Jesus used, and the one the people would have had, was not modern recreational fishing, but commercial fishing with nets. And the effort was not one of enticement, baiting, and quickly trying to set the hook. Rather, it is one of casting out, and then drawing. And it would be fair to say, it is not the attempt to entice a fish to come to you. Instead, it is finding and going to where fish congregate and then drawing them to something new. In our case, we can only draw people to where we ourselves are being drawn…
Since You Asked…
What is the Christian’s Hope?
In a word, it is the resurrection of the body to life everlasting in the world to come. This is more accurate and complete than just saying “life after death.” It is also more helpful than saying “going to heaven.” When Jesus returns at the end of the age to judge the living and the dead, baptized believers will be raised bodily! They will share in a resurrection similar to Jesus’ resurrection. And being in his presence on that day and for all eternity is not just a matter of escaping to heaven, but living in his presence in the new heaven and earth. The Lord intends to renew and restore his creation. So our central hope is the resurrection of the dead, with believers inheriting the Kingdom.