Monday after the Second Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. Matthew 4:18-25 (NKJV)
18 And 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. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
Jesus calls Simon Peter and Andrew to be His apostles with the invitation, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Being a fisher of men is very different from being a fisher of fish. The point of comparison between these two types of “fishing” is that both require an instrument. Fishing the waters of the Sea of Galilee required a fishing net which was cast into the water to gather as many fish as it could before being pulled out of the water. But this sort of thing would never work to fish for men. Men are not caught by nets. This is why “they immediately left their nets.”
The instrument given to the apostles for catching men is the net of the Holy Gospel. The Gospel is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The message of repentance and faith in Christ catches men in their sins, causing them to repent and believe the Gospel that forgives their sins. Since faith alone justifies, faith has to be created by the preaching of the Gospel.
Pastors still cast the net of the gospel wide into the sea of the world, trusting the Lord who gave them the net. We are to trust no other instrument for catching men because the Lord has promised to be present with His Word. Nor are we to despise the Word, think lightly of it, and put off its hearing for other activities. The Word of the Gospel is how Christ catches us daily, forgiving our sins by giving us faith in His promises.