Search RJ's Blog

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fishers of Men - Mark 1:16-17

Recently at a local fishing lake, I have been able to reflect on my calling in life and enjoy the great outdoors. Today I went fishing with my Dad. We had a wonderful day on the lake with no one on the water, and had good weather accompanied by good fishing! Several months ago, I went fishing with my dad for the first time in nearly ten years. Every year from my elementary days until I finished high school, my family went on a Spring Break vacation to go fishing. My dad taught me how to fish and I got to see the beautiful outdoors. The experience I gained from fishing was exceptional and knowledgeable. I discovered that there were many principles to be learned in the recreational sport of fishing such as patience, diligence, endurance, punctuality, and accuracy. All of these things are virtuous and should be exhibited by all people regardless of their ages or occupations so they can live successfully in all things.

Nevertheless, once I became a Christian my entire worldview transformed. Over that period of sanctification in my life, I never thought that "fishing" would be something I would identify with to determine my calling in life. I went fishing with my Dad over Easter weekend earlier this year and reflected on how the Lord Jesus Christ called my brother and I to serve him. The first verse(s) that came to mind was in Mark's Gospel (since I was studying and continue to study that book vigorously). Mark mentions the first set of disciples were brothers, and they were fishermen (also in Matt. 4:18; Luke 6:14; John 1:40). Mark was a brilliant author who wrote the first of four gospels using literary details to disclose information to his audience about the characters in the narrative. The details in Mark 1:16-17 most likely identify the disciples as ordinary men with an extraordinary callings. I discovered how I could see myself and my brother KC in the passage.

Mark 1:16-17 says (brackets added),

"Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon [RJ] and Andrew [KC] the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."

Growing up together, my brother and I spent endless hours fishing with our Dad. We learned how to do everything, and even got to drive the boat once in awhile! Never did we expect one day we would be "fishing" in a whole new way. After my brother and I both made commitments to follow Christ, we immediately began serving in the high school youth ministry (and still do to this day). We shared the gospel and went street witnessing in various social gathering/meeting places to tell people about the Lord Jesus Christ. We led many people to Christ, and ministered to tons of people who needed encouragement, wisdom, or prayer. It was made evident to us that God wanted to use us as "fishers of men." One day, my brother and I were normal high school teen-aged boys who had nothing on their mind but their own situations just like Simon (Peter) and Andrew "fishing" (Mark 1:16b). The next day, my brother and I both heard the gospel and obeyed the words of Jesus to "follow me" (Mark 1:17b). What followed was a full display of the cross-centered life as my brother and I shared the truth to as many people as possible, thus making us "fishers of men" (Mark 1:17c).

I am so thankful the Lord has called me to proclaim his goodness not just through the ministry, but also in academics. As I strive to be successful wherever the Lord leads me in the future, I am compelled by the greatness of the gospel just like Peter in John's Gospel. Peter understood that Jesus was the most important person to follow because his message was the words of eternal life.

John 6:68-69 says,
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

Peter knew that Jesus is God. He understood that the words of Jesus were sacred and divine. His response to Jesus in John 6:68 regards the question Jesus asked him and the other disciples about remaining a faithful disciple in John 6:66-67, "After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "'Do you want to go away as well?'" Previously, Jesus taught a large gathering of Jews that he was the self-revelation of the Father as the Bread of Life. This was an outrageous an blasphemous claim if it were not true, but it was indeed. This is why Jesus asked those who were around if they agreed with his words. The response of Peter genuinely displays the correct answer as he identifies Jesus taught the words of eternal life (John 6:68c). Peter's response is grounded in the wonderful truth of the gospel because he acknowledges the Lordship of Christ (John 6:68a), the authority of Jesus' word (John 6:68b), authenticates his confession of faith (John 6:69a-b), and ascertains Jesus with the correct identity as the Holy One of God (John 6:69c).

The response of Peter is exactly how I feel today as a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. After my reflection on the verses regarding the calling of disciples, I have now realized my calling in life: to communicate the Word of God with the intentions to change lives for eternity. I proudly worship the Lord Jesus Christ because of his grace working in my life. The Lord Jesus Christ has changed me into a fisher of men. Therefore, I pray that God will lead me to a destination where the words of eternal life will be preached and taught with bold proclamation of the cross. There is no one greater in whom I shall serve than the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater purpose in whom I can trust than the Lord Jesus Christ. I speak in the same words as Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life."

"To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
(2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ESV)

No comments:

What is your favorite subject in Christian Studies?