Fishers of people

Blog Bulletin 

Published on: Thursday January 19 2023, 2:16 pm

I will make you fishers of men
Fishers of men, fishers of men
I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me
If you follow me, if you follow me
I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me

So go the words of a popular children’s Bible song, using the words of Jesus’ call to Andrew, Simon Peter, James and John in our Gospel reading for this Sunday. (Matthew 4:12-23)  When they heard his calling, at once the men dropped everything and headed off after Jesus.  It was the first big turning point in their lives.  They were just rough fishermen, toiling at their nets, but Jesus chose these men.  He saw what they were at that point in their lives, and their potential, what they could – would – be, if they responded to his call. When they unhesitatingly accepted his invitation to follow him, to become his students, learning by living alongside him, Jesus re-created who and what they were, transforming them into something new.

This story of the call to the first disciples is so familiar that perhaps we take it for granted.  And one of the bits that perhaps we pass over is that Jesus called these first few in pairs, Simon and Andrew and then John and James. They were not asked to step into the unknown alone, but to become part of a seedcorn community into which Jesus drew further disciples, and which would become the beginning of the early Church. It foreshadows the episode in Luke chapter 10 where seventy further disciples (we don’t know their names) were sent out in pairs to carry Jesus’ message of the coming of the kingdom of God into the villages and townships of the surrounding countryside.  This Sunday’s passage also foreshadows the closing lines of Matthew’s Gospel: Jesus’ great commission to his disciples –  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19)  Just as Jesus had invited his disciples to be part of his journey, so he sent them out to the world to continue that invitation.

Our own relationship with Jesus is most likely formed, not only by what we learn of him through the Bible, but by our relationships with those around us who tell us about Jesus and who share their stories of turning points and of living with Jesus alongside them – the people who have invited us to join them in following Jesus and offered to accompany us as we set out into the unknown.    It may be that the cornerstone of a relationship with Christ for some is very personal, perhaps in private prayer, but when we look at the disciples, we see they were brought together by Jesus to become his followers, his collected body to support each other and to become his community to share work together.  And that would have made perfect sense to those early fishermen who worked their nets as a team.

  • What is your story of receiving Jesus’ invitation? 
  • What difference has it made to your life, to be a follower of Jesus? 
  • Who has walked alongside you on your journey of faith?
  • What do you think it looks like for you to be a fisher of people for Jesus?

And let’s remember that we never have to go fishing on our own, thank you Lord.

Lucy G

Image: Jesus calls the fishermen – mosaic from Church of San Apollinare, Ravenna

Song lyrics by Alfred Newman (The Greatest Story Ever Told)