Mark 1:17 (NASB)
And¹ Jesus² said to them,
and I will make you [to] become⁴ fishers of men (mankind)
¹) or “then”
²) Jesus (= “Yahweh is salvation”) is, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind, God incarnate
³) Literally: Come here after (or behind) me
⁴) I will make you ready (prepare you) to appear in public as
From other translations:
And Jesus said to them, Come after Me and be My disciples, and I will make you to become fishers of men. [AMP]
Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” [MSB]
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” [NIV]
Jesus called out to them, “Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!” [NLT]
Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” [NKJV]
Now let us see what this verse is telling us.
Here the Lord Jesus begins to gather His congregation. He walks along the sea of Tiberias and sees the fishermen doing their job and casting their nets.
They were catching fish, and He will catch people. It is so simply told. He just seizes the people, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.”
They are called in their ordinary lives, and they obey Him, for they even leave their father, and they come to the Lord Jesus.
Why are those sons called to become disciples of Jesus, and the father, Zebedee, is not? We do not know, it is a thing hidden from us, but trusting in His sovereign grace we may assume that Jesus had a good reason for it.
Jesus is among the people as a wandering teacher (a rabbi, a master, Matthew 4:23; John 1:38; Matthew 26:25; Mark 1:21), as there were more in his day.
The groups of students they gathered around them (Matthew 5:1) accompanied their master on his travels (Matthew 4:25).
However, there are some obvious differences between these rabbis and Jesus: Normally, the disciples in those days chose their master, but Jesus himself called his disciples (Matthew 4:19,22) and determined under what conditions they were allowed to follow him (Matthew 8:18-22); His goal was not just a complementary teaching, but an involvement at the deepest level (Matthew 8:20, 22; 19:27).
Jesus makes himself the beating heart of his followers (“for my name’s sake,” Matthew 19:29)
His disciples are called to participate in His works and become “fishers of men,” an image borrowed from the profession of these first disciples.
Just like God sends fishermen to bring his people in exile back home in Jeremiah, the apostles in Matthew 10:6 are called to bring the lost sheep of Israel back to God.
But did you notice?
Jesus calls, and they come immediately.
Those men abandon their ships and nets, all their business investments, and they leave their father with the servants, to follow the Lord Jesus.
Jesus calls His disciples to be fishers of men. They will be able to fulfill this mission if they have continuous fellowship with Him, and perform the task He gives them (Mark 3:14).
In Jesus’ expression, Jeremiah 16:15-17 echoes, where “fishermen” and “hunters” of men call the people of God back to God from idols after judgment. That calling takes place in the context of their cleansing (Jeremiah 16:17) and will also include Gentile nations (Jeremiah 16:19).
When the Lord calls us, we should not resist that call, then we must give up our resistance, and then we must surrender to Him.
Have you heard His call in your life?
And what did you do?
Did you also follow Him?
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