Follow Jesus – Be Fishers Of Men
In Matthew 4:19 Jesus told His followers, His disciples, to “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. This is the first part of God’s purpose and mission for His followers and His church. To follow Jesus and be fishers of men, or to go and share & preach the Gospel.
There are some key things to understand about this verse, and important questions also:
- Most important to understand, Jesus is not asking His followers to do this, He is commanding them. To truly follow Jesus is to obey everything He commands
- If we are not being fishers of men, or sharing the Gospel with others, we are not truly following Jesus
- A “fisher of men” is not merely someone who does witnessing occasionally, or participates in an outreach ministry event a couple of time per year.
- A “fisher of men” is a person who IS a witness for Jesus, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a person who is constantly sharing God’s love and the Gospel.
- A “fisher of men” is someone who has the same heart as God for lost people. He or she has God’s love & desire and passion to see lost people come to have a reconciled relationship with God and eternal life.
- We need God to touch our hearts and place His love and passion for lost people into us. It is not natural for us to have such a love and passion for others, especially lost sinners.
- A “fisher of men” is a person who continually prays for and looks for opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus, with as many people as they can. He or she prays for “divine appointments” to share Christ with others.
- A fisher of men is someone who is actively sharing the Gospel with others in their daily life (you do not need to be a full time servant like a pastor or missionary).
Here are the important questions:
Was Jesus just talking to the original disciples who would become the “apostles” or the heads of the new church in the book of Acts ?
Or was Jesus commanding all believers to be “fishers of men” and to faithfully share the Gospel ?
- If you look in most churches today, you would think that Jesus was only commanding pastors, or church leaders, or missionaries to carry out the work of sharing the Gospel. Sadly, in many churches no one is sharing or preaching the Gospel, not even pastors.
- The answer to the questions is clearly found in God’s Word:
- Read Acts 8:1,4 – it says that “a great persecution came against the church”. The new church was in Jerusalem at the time, very shortly after Jesus dies and rose again to heaven in Acts 1.
- It says that the apostles, the leaders and pastors of the church, stayed in Jerusalem…
- And the rest of the church, the ordinary people in the church, were scattered to other places
- Now watch what happens in verse 4: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went“. Preached the word in this verse means they preached the Gospel everywhere they went.
- Every member of the church, all of the regular people of the church, faithfully shared the Gospel…
- because they understood clearly that Jesus commanded all of His followers to be “fishers of men”, not just the pastors or leaders of the church.
- Because of their faithfulness, even though they suffered and some even died for it, God was able to empower and use them to reach many lost people for Jesus and the Gospel:
- “And the LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:47
- “The LORD’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the LORD.” – Acts 11:21
We want to encourage you to be faithful to Jesus, and obey His command to be a fisher of men and someone who is actively sharing God’s love and the Gospel wherever you are and go.
- If you don’t know how to share the Gospel, there are many tools to help you. Such as Billy Graham’s Steps to Peace With God Gospel tract, or many others.
- Notice that Jesus doesn’t say “try your best to be a fisher of men or witness”. He says “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” Jesus is saying that if you follow Him, or if you will obey Him, HE will empower you to share the Gospel with others. He will be there with you, through His Holy Spirit, to empower you and give to you whatever you need to be His witness or “fisher of men”.
- If you will do your part and obey Jesus and share the Gospel, the Holy Spirit will empower you:
- Power to share the Gospel – see Acts 1:8
- If you don’t know what to say or are anxious – see Matthew 10:18-20
- If you are afraid – read 4:29-31 (early disciples’ prayer for courage & boldness)
Don’t let fear stop you from obeying and following Jesus, or from sharing the Gospel with others who desperately need Jesus. God can and will use you in His Kingdom work of reaching lost people.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – John 15:8
Pursuing Intimacy With God is committed to helping you with the most important thing in your life… your intimacy with God , your fellowship with Him, and your partnership with God in His Kingdom work & mission.
There are hundreds of Bible verses and great truths & promises in the Pursuing Intimacy With God studies book