And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
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I will make you fishers of men - Ezekiel 47:8-10, casts much light on this place; and to this prophet our Lord probably alludes. To follow Christ, and be admitted into a partnership of his ministry, is a great honor; but those only who are by himself fitted for it, God calls. Miserable are those who do not wait fur this call - who presume to take the name of fishers of men, and know not how to cast the net of the Divine word, because not brought to an acquaintance with the saving power of the God who bought them. Such persons, having only their secular interest in view, study not to catch men, but to catch money: and though, for charity's sake, it may be said of a pastor of this spirit, he does not enter the sheepfold as a thief, yet he certainly lives as a hireling. See Quesnel.
Some teach to work, but have no hands to row;
Some will be eyes, but have no light to see;
Some will be guides, but have no feet to go;
Some deaf, yet ears, some dumb, yet tongues will be;
Dumb, deaf, lame, blind, and maimed, yet fishers all!
Fit for no use but store an hospital.
Fletcher's Piscatory Eclogues. Ec iv. 5, 18.
Following a person, in the Jewish phrase, signifies being his disciple or scholar. See a similar mode of speech, 2 Kings 6:19.John 1:35 and though through John's pointing out Christ unto them, they had some knowledge of him, and conversation with him, yet they abode with him but for that day, John 1:37 and afterwards returned to their master; and upon his imprisonment, betook themselves to their former employment: from whence Christ now calls them to be his disciples, saying "follow me", or "come after me": that is, be a disciple of mine; see Luke 14:27. And to encourage them to it, makes use of this argument; "and", or "for", I "will make you fishers of men": you shall be fishers still, but in a higher sense; and in a far more noble employment, and to much better purpose. The net they were to spread and cast was the Gospel, see Matthew 13:47 for Christ made them not , "fishers of the law", to use the words of Maimonides (g), but fishers of the Gospel. The sea into which they were to cast the net was first Judea, and then the whole world; the fish they were to catch were the souls of men, both among Jews and Gentiles; of whose conversion and faith they were to be the happy instruments: now none could make them fishers in this sense, or fit them for such service, and succeed them in it, but Christ; and who here promises it unto them. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.Follow me. Already disciples, they were now called to preparation for apostleship.Verse 19. - Follow me; come ye after me (Revised Version); δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου. There is no thought of continuous following from place to place (ἀκολουθεῖν) , but of immediate detachment from the present sphere of their interest and of attachment to Jesus as their leader. And I will make you fishers of men; Mark, "to become fishers of men," laying more stress on the change in their character necessary for success in this new kind of fishing. Luke 5:10 brings out the change in the nature of the work(ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν). Fishers. The word suggests care, patience, skill, besides habits of life fitted for endurance of privation and fatigue. The same promise is, as it seems, related in Luke 5:10, where notice:
(1) It is connected with the miracle of the draught of fishes.
(2) It is not verbally identical with this: Μὴ φοβοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν.
(3) The words are addressed individually to Simon.
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