“Follow me, and you will become fishers of men.”
When I started my study on Mark this past week, that word, “become” in Mark 1:17 kept hopping out at me over and over again, one reason, I guess, is that it was missing in that jaunty little tune from childhood: “I will make you fishers of men, if you follow meeee!”: but sure enough, it’s become in the ESV version. Become involves a process. And as a woman in my study group pointed out, there’s all kinds of life application in this tiny verse.
Being a real fisherman means:
-sometimes late nights
-sea sickness, depending on the water that day (see this for more insight)
-hope and disappointment
-casting out, pulling up not getting a Single. Thing. All. Day. This was the scenario in Luke 5: 1-10:
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let downb the nets for a catch.”
5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”
11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
They had practical experience up until this point, they were weathered in every sense of the word, but here is where the faith test starts to come in.
There would be days where they would pull up seaweed, days when they would try it on their own strength, by their own might, and nothing would happen. But then there were days when they would watch Jesus work, and they would see the harvest with their eyes, and they would be amazed, and overwhelmed at the numbers and they would be insecure, fearful, for indeed the harvest was plentiful but their numbers were few.
Peter, Andrew, James, John…the fishermen
Men who, for the most part had no education, just a good work ethic, strong arms, wind-chapped cheeks. They had weathered the literal storms, would they be able to face the figurative ones as well?
Other times no.
They would lose hope in feeding the multitudes, they would ask that the pesky children go away, they would be scared out of their wits in a real storm and they would fall asleep at a critical time, betray him, deny him. But you, Jesus, chose them with care, with purpose, because you saw their potential. You saw that would catch on fire with the Holy Spirit, that they would go on and preach the resurrection, write books, be tortured and yes, killed for your sake, for Your name. Thank you for choosing the lowly to shame the humble. Thank you for trusting us when we don’t trust you, when we doubt, scream, run away because you always have and you will always see what we are becoming.