Picasso is one of the abstractionists of world-wide fame. Among his works, there is a piece-the Head of Bull. This was a masterpiece which he was most satisfied with and valued immensely. It brought world-wide fame and praise to him. Through this piece, we can see his creativity and artistic talent. It’s highly valued. Surprisingly, however, the main ingredients of that piece are parts of a bicycle dumped into a waste disposal site. Picasso made a world-famous masterpiece out of such thrown-away things which people payed no attention to. Like-wise, God the Creator chose us-the worthless beings-like dayflies and worms, and He is making us into masterpieces-unparalleled perfect beings.
Peter was a hot-tempered fisherman who was working against the rough sea. However, he has now become the apostle of apostles, who sets a good example of apostleship to all the Christians. How could Peter, who didn’t study, become a representative of fishers of men leading many souls to God? It’s because Jesus chose him and taught him personally for three years.
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Mt 4:17-22
Jesus began His ministry by calling His disciples. He manifested His will to His disciples, saying, “I will make you fishers of men.” The disciples left their nets, their boats and their family and followed Jesus. From that time on, they began to live as fishers of men. Just as Jesus said to His disciples, “I will make you fishers of men,” He made their rough temper smooth little by little during His three years of public ministry.
Among many passages in the Bible, this passage-“I will make you fishers of men”-manifestly shows the purpose of Jesus’ calling His disciples. The passage shows Jesus’ firm will to make His disciples fellow workers for the gospel, the great evangelists.
Jesus made His ignorant disciples ‘gospel preachers’ to save souls. If we study Jesus’ education method, we too will be able to lead many souls to God. In other words, Jesus advanced a fundamental theory of making fishers of men and we are required to always review it to become excellent evangelists. Jesus’ method of education is a model which serves the needs of all evangelists.
Thus, the method of teaching Jesus used to make His disciples ‘fishers of men’ sets the best example to us-the fishers of men.
A proverb says, ‘A hundred hearings are not worth one seeing,’ or ‘Action speaks more loudly than words.’ Jesus taught His disciples many things and put them into practice personally, so that they would do as He did to them and become fishers of men.
2,000 years ago, when Jesus came into this earth and proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, He called His disciples first and made them fishers of men. Now, let’s find out how He disciplined them to make them the gospel workers.
First, Jesus showed the example of how to pray. When He began to preach the gospel, He prayed first.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Mt 4:1-2
After the forty days of prayer with fasting, Jesus resisted Satan and began His ministry. As for daily life, too, Jesus began by praying. By setting us this example, Jesus showed that prayer should be done by fishers of men before everything.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. Mk 1:35-39
Jesus taught His disciples that God’s power comes out only by prayer.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mk 9:28-29
This word shows that even though we are given power, we can’t display the power if we do not pray. If a balloon is not filled with air, it can’t become inflated-it’s nothing but rubber. In the same way, if we do not pray, we can do nothing-we can bear no fruit. Jesus taught us that prayer has the power to make everything possible.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. …” Mt 7:7-11
“Ask, seek and knock.” This means we must “pray.” God has allowed us, through prayer, to seek, find and receive everything. Thus, prayer is the basis for everything we do. We, fishers of men, must pray first.
Training His disciples to be fishers of men, Jesus emphasized the importance of faith. The Gospels of the New Testament are mostly filled with words concerning faith.
After the Resurrection, when Jesus showed Himself to Thomas, he was doubting and said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Then Jesus let him see His hands and put his hand into His side. After that, Thomas said that he believed, and Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed” (Jn 20:29). Saying that, Jesus made His disciples realize that it’s great faith to believe what is invisible. Thus, He taught them the importance of faith continuously until He went up to heaven.
“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mk 9:22-24
No one can dare to say to Jesus, “If you can.” For everything is possible for the Creator who made the universe by His word. If we absolutely depend on God’s great power, nothing is impossible for us, isn’t it? When we firmly believe that God makes everything possible, we can become fishers of men.
When we bring the gospel to precious souls, sometimes we take a personal view of them and prejudge them, and consequently we fail to lead them to God.
When we preach the gospel, we shall not prejudge, ‘This person will accept,’ or, ‘That person won’t.’ When we are positive about everything, believing firmly that God will make it possible, and strive to save the souls, we will bear good fruit.
A saying goes that much chaff is gained when much wheat is gathered. If we prejudge, ‘That person is the chaff,’ and try to take only the wheat with our own prejudgement, we may waste much time trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. God said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” When we believe that God will make everything possible, we can bear the wheat [good fruit], as fishers of men.
Through the two blind men who received their sight by their faith, Jesus made us realize how important faith is.
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.” Mt 9:27-30
Before Jesus restored two blind men’s sight, He tested them to see if they followed Him with faith. Jesus confirmed that they didn’t follow Him just because of hearsay that He healed every disease. Jesus said to them, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” Then their sight was restored.
If they had not believed that Jesus could restore their sight, they would not have received their sight. Because they believed that He could heal them, their sight was restored. Jesus could have simply restored their sight. However, He required their faith, saying, “According to your faith will it be done.” Through this, Jesus intended to teach His disciples that everything is possible for him who believes.
Peter, who was taught the importance of faith, won three thousand souls in one day, as a great fisher of men. It was a result of his faith; while he followed Jesus for over three years, he was enlightened through all the examples that Jesus Himself showed him. Early in the morning, Jesus went off to a solitary place and earnestly prayed. From this, he learned how he should pray. He learned that he should have a strong faith in all circumstances that nothing is too hard for God.
Preaching the gospel is necessary for us to understand Christ-unless we preach the gospel, we can’t understand the life of Christ. Jesus Himself set His disciples an example of praying and taught them the importance of faith. Then He let them put into practice what they had learned.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Mt 9:35-38
Going through all the towns and villages, Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom; and He healed every disease and sickness. Observing Jesus do all those things, the disciples learned to preach and were made worthy and able to be great fishers of men.
He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Mt 10:1-15
The disciples observed Jesus praying, giving authority to him who believed, preaching the gospel, and taking pains to save one soul. By observing all His behavior, they were enlightened and put into practice what they had learned, preaching the gospel. While they were following Jesus, they were made fishers of men, the gospel preachers, whom God was well pleased with.
It is also necessary for fishers of men to have a firm hope for heaven. Without this hope we could become exhausted soon. Jesus worried that His disciples might be discouraged, when they were persecuted, mocked and despised, while preaching the gospel. So, He gave them a hope for heaven, so that they might have a stronger faith and endure all difficulties.
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Mt 19:27-28
Jesus gave authority to judge the twelve tribes of Israel to the disciples who left everything to follow Him and devoted their life to the gospel work. Apostle Peter called the authority ‘that of a royal priesthood’ (1 Pe 2:9). Jesus promised them such great glory of heaven, that they might not get exhausted and work for the gospel ceaselessly.
Thus, it is requisite for the fishers of men to have a hope for heaven. When we have the hope, we come to take an affirmative view of everything and become full of vitality in spirit and body. We can do everything with joy. As an oyster bears pain, holding sands in it, for the glorious day that it will get a pearl, so we endure pain for the glorious day that we will have the heavenly glory. The hope for heaven enables us to overcome the pain, which we suffer in this earth for a little while.
The last one which we should do to be fishers of men, is having a good personality. Jesus told His disciples that they couldn’t be fishers of men unless they became good-natured.
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Mt 12:34-37
To be fishers of men with whom Jesus is pleased, we should be good-natured. Out of the good in our hearts come good words and deeds. If we have the evil in our hearts, we cannot bring good words or deeds. When our good words and deeds come from our hearts, we can be fishers of men.
If we easily get angry and say rough words and act rashly, we are not worthy to be fishers of men. To everyone-whether he is in the truth or not, it is important to have a good personality. Jesus teaches us that we should always become humble to be fishers of men.
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-” Mt 20:26-27
Though we are given the promise of becoming a royal priesthood of heaven, we should first be fishers of men. To be fishers of men, we must be servants. Jesus always set an example of being humble and serving others for His disciples to make them fishers of men. If we follow Jesus’ example, we will be fishers of men who can lead many souls to God.
At first, Jesus’ disciples were merely fishermen who knew nothing except getting fish out of water.
To make them fishers of men, Jesus taught them and set many examples for them. He chose them as His disciples and set them an example of praying, taught them the importance of faith, preached the gospel personally, sent them into many regions to give them opportunities to preach by themselves, gave them a hope for heaven so that they might not be exhausted, and told them to have a good personality so that they might give glory to God. Thus, Jesus taught them everything, so that they might be qualified as fishers of men.
When we understand everything that Jesus has taught us and put it into practice, we can be worthy preachers. If we always pray, have a strong faith, preach the gospel diligently, have a fervent hope for heaven and become good-natured and humble, we will be eligible to be fishers of men.
We’re chosen by God. Now we, as disciples of Jesus, shall understand all His teachings and practice His examples. Then we will be able to bring many souls to God. As Picasso made a masterpiece with wastes, so God chose us-the worthless beings thrown away because of our sins-and made us fishers of men and gave us authority to be a royal priesthood. We should give thanks to God the Creator-the Spirit and the Bride.
If we strive to save souls, depending on God’s power, this gospel will be swiftly proclaimed to the ends of the earth, and the 144,000-the scattered brothers and sisters-will gather together and run into God’s arms: Such a glorious day will come soon. Trusting in God always, let us pray earnestly and preach the gospel diligently with a strong faith. Then we can be fishers of men, leading many souls to life. Grace and peace to all brothers and sisters in Zion from our God!