What does it mean to be “fishers of men”?

Author: BibleAsk Team


“Fishers of Men” 

The phrase “fishers of men” was spoken by Jesus. The gospel of Mark records, “And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:16–18). 

The Master Fisherman was calling Peter, Andrew, James, and John to the ministry of saving souls from sin. Only God transforms the soul, but men are His instruments in this divine work. God’s goal in “catching” His disciples was that they, in turn, should “catch” others.  

Peter wrote, “receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9). The disciples will work as fishers of men to save others “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10; Luke 19:10). For there is great joy in heaven when a sinner repents (Luke 15:7).  

The figure of speech “fishers of men” was not new, for in the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah had used similar language. He said, “Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they shall fish them” (Jeremiah 16:16). Here, the prophet was referring to the Babylonian armies, who would surround Judah and Jerusalem as with a dragnet allowing no one to escape (Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:15). 

Save the Lost 

During His ministry, Jesus “called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics” (Mark 6:7-9). The Twelve disciples were to offer healing for the soul as well as for the body. This same message, Jesus (Mark 1:15) and John (Matthew 3:2) had both preached.  

Christ resembled the kingdom of heaven to a “net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind” (Matthew13:47). He equipped and trained His disciples to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The true evangelist is described as one who hunts for men to save them from eternal death (Psalm 82:4). There is no greater work. 

And just before His ascension to heaven, Christ gave His followers the Great Commission saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20). 

This Commission of being fishers of men is sometimes pointed to as the “charter of foreign missions.” The Christian faith was the first faith to assume an international nature. The gospel commission erased all national borders, and people from all countries become one in brotherhood. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female,” for all are “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 also Colossians 3:11). 

The outcome of faith is deliverance from sin (1 Peter 1:5) and the reception of the everlasting “inheritance” (verse 4) that awaits every genuine believer at the Last Judgment. The Restored Eden is God’s promise for all the saints. This will take place at the second advent of Christ, when the saints will finally be rescued from sin (Matthew 25:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). 

In His service, 
BibleAsk Team 

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