“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’”
Matthew 4:19 (NIV)
If you are familiar with the Internet you’ll know that all web addresses have a three-letter suffix. The most common suffix is ‘.com’ (‘dot-com’), but another widely-used suffix is ‘.net’ (‘dot-net’).
If you take just about any familiar word related to the Christian faith and preface it to the .net ending you’ve got a valid web address. So, for example, you could have Christianity.net. Gospel.net. and so on. The internet, or ‘the net’ as is often called, plays an important role in today’s church, taking the gospel message out to the world.
Some 2,000 years before ‘the ‘net’ became a reality, Jesus instructed his followers to pay careful attention to the importance of another net—the fisherman’s net. This is not surprising since Galilee was known for its fishing trade and a large proportion of the disciples were fishermen. Simon and Andrew even came from Bethsaida, which means ‘house of fishing’.
Jesus took something they were familiar with to teach them an important spiritual principle preserved for us in Luke 5:4-6, “When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”
To fish for people we must be willing to follow Jesus, go to where the fish are and cast our net. Even if this means getting into some deep water. Now that’s not easy! It is far more comfortable to stay cloistered within the confines of the church, sitting in our usual seat week after week, speaking to the same friends, singing the same songs, listening to another sermon, sheltered from the world outside.
Peter and his crew had worked hard at it all night and caught nothing. We can’t catch fish without getting into the boat and casting our net where the fish are, and we can’t fish for people without being where the people are. We can reach out to the world via the internet, but we can also do some personal fishing. How many unbelievers are there among your family, friends and your circle of acquaintances that you could share your faith with? Where is the deep water you need to be in, in order to cast your net and fish?
Simon Peter said, “because you say so, I will let down the nets.” – And the catch was enormous. Is it possible that when we participate in what Jesus is doing and where he is doing it, the catch will be so large that our nets begin to break?
Father, help us to follow the Master Fisherman, humbly and faithfully, as we cast the net of the gospel to the world, and to trust him for the abundance of the catch.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Saturday 11 am
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