Devotional: February 22nd
Fishermen and golfers in churches have been arguing for some time concerning which group Jesus would hang out with were He here today. The biggest argument that fishermen give is that Jesus hung out with fishermen before so, it stands to reason, He would do so again today. There is a small problem with that concept of the argument.
The vast majority of fishermen today are hobbyists or sportsmen. They have a day job which pays the bills and fishing is what occupies their free time. While they are passionate about their sport, it is, nonetheless, just a sport for them. Involved in the sport is the concept of "catch and release." Sport fishermen rarely keep what they catch unless it meets a certain size limit. In fact, a growing number of sport fishermen only keep trophy fish, choosing to release even those that qualify as "keepers."
Other than the occasional backyard fish fry, or the promise to the wife that the skillet will be filled upon the return, there is really no press to catch anything. The object is to go and enjoy the venture; the time on the lake or river, the casts, the strikes, the action. This is where Jesus would be totally lost. The fishermen Jesus hung out with were commercial fishermen. They fished for a living. Catching and keeping something was the focus of the trip, not enjoyment.
It was into this context that Jesus spoke when He called His fishermen disciples. It had been a particularly miserable day fishing for both the sons of Zebedee and the sons of Jonah. Jesus had just finished teaching the multitudes from Peter's boat when He told the fishermen to go out further and let down their nets for a catch. Peter replied that they had fished all night to no avail, but he would do as Jesus asked. When they did they caught so many fish that their net was actually breaking.
They called James and John to help them with the fish. The catch was so great that when put into both boats they began to sink. The men, especially Peter, were afraid. "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." Luke 5:10 Jesus established a principal. The object is not the action but the result. "Sport fishing" Christianity doesn't work with Jesus. He wants full "nets." And you can forget "catch and release."
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