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Time to be fishers of men again

When Jesus called Peter and his brother, Andrew, to follow Him, He did it in a unique way.

Matthew 4:18-19 tells us how He did it: “Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishermen. And he said unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” Jesus was wanting more than just a play on words, He was wanting to show them how to help people through sharing the good news of the Gospel.

Paul Harvey, the famous radio news reporter for ABC, once said: “We’ve drifted away from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium.”

In other words, instead of taking the hope of Jesus to the masses, many Christians have gotten comfortable with keeping Jesus inside the church (aquarium).

Years ago, in a disastrous church fire, a beautiful painting of Christ was endangered. Two men ran inside and rescued it. People came and watched the fire, but stayed long after to look at the painting.

The church leaders were amazed because people had never before been interested in the painting, which had hung for years inside the church.

Finally, one man explained, “When the church caught fire and moved Christ into the streets where people could see Him, then they were interested.”

Those of us who know Jesus and the hope He brings need to tell others who don’t know Him—not just on Easter but every day!

The story is told of a first-year seminary student who was told by the dean that he should plan to preach the sermon in chapel the following day.

The student had never preached a sermon before, he was nervous and afraid, and he stayed up all night reading and praying, but in the morning, he didn’t have a sermon.

He stood in the pulpit, looked out at his classmates and said: “Do you know what I am going to say?”

All of them shook their heads “No.”

He said: “Neither do I. The service has ended. Go in peace.”

The dean was not happy. “I’ll give you another chance tomorrow and you had better have a sermon.”

Again, the student stayed up all night; and again, he couldn’t come up with a sermon.

Next morning, he stood in the pulpit and asked: “Do you know what I am going to say?”

The students, remembering what he had done the day before, all nodded their heads “Yes.”

He said: “Since you know what I’m going to say, there is no reason for me to tell you. The service has ended. Go in peace.”

Now the dean was angry.

“You have one more chance; if you don’t have a sermon tomorrow, you will be asked to leave the seminary.”

Again, the student struggled all night but no sermon came.

He stood in the pulpit the next day and asked: “Do you know what I am going to say?”

Not knowing what to think, half of the students nodded “Yes” and the other half shook their heads “No.”

He said: “Those who know, tell those who don’t know. The service has ended. Go in peace.”

This time the dean walked over to the student, put his arm around his shoulders, and said: “Those who know, tell those who don’t know. Today, the Gospel was preached!”

Wherever you live, work, or go to school there are people around you who feel hopeless in life. They need to know that Jesus died to forgive our sins and give us hope. It’s time to take Him out of our churches and into the streets where people can see Him in us.

It’s time to be “fishers of men.”

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia