Fishers of men ...
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me
By Michael Carl
"As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea?for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for people.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him."
What did it mean when Jesus strolled the shore of Lake Galilee and call those men to serve Him without reservation? Well, in one way or another, it meant a complete surrender to Jesus. When they heard Him say, "'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me'" (Mark 8.34), they eventually learned that He meant it.
For most of them, it meant dying for the Lord. We all know from Foxe's Book of Martyrs that all of the original Apostles, second edition (with Matthias), except John went to a martyr's death. Thomas, not realising the full impact of what he was saying, said it correctly when he said in John chapter eleven, "'Let's go back to Judea so we may die with Him.'"
Yet, we have to ask today, what does it mean when Jesus says, "'Follow me and I will make you fish for people'"? Is there any real meaning behind Jesus' own words, "'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me'" for us today? Do we really believe this or have Christ's own words simply become a romanticised exercise in a formulaic religious contemplation for today's 21st Century North American Christian?
In truth, we have to come to terms with the reality that if we don't really believe He means what He says in these Mark passages, then in fact we are denying the truth and efficacy of God's Word. As one of my teachers along the way said, "We´re professing believers; but in fact, we´re practical atheists."
The good professor was blunt, but brutally true. When it comes to obeying the Word of God, we don´t do too well with the passages requiring personal sacrifice.
Folks, this must change. If we're ever to realise the depth and beauty of a vital relationship with our Lord, we have to let go and be willing to trust Him with ALL of His Words.
Are we willing to do that?
If not, then our practical doubts are going to rob us of the very meat and meaning for which we deeply long.
Let us resolve this day that we're not going to be spectators; we're going to take a step from the shore, wade in and fully become "a fisherman".