Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Once a Fisherman...

What was Simon Peter’s occupation? Fisherman

Before becoming a disciple, Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen. In fact, the first four disciples Jesus called in the Synoptic gospels were fishermen. Jesus announces that the fishermen will become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17). (The pun is in the Greek as well as the English.)

Peter is depicted fishing in the gospels on several occasions even after becoming a disciple. He uses his skills as a fishermen to procure tax at Jesus’ request (Matthew 17:27). Based upon this story, tilapia is known as St. Peter’s fish in the Middle East. Also, between Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter returned to fishing (John 21:3).

In what ways did fishing prepare Peter for his ministry?

I knew that fishing required patience and reliance on God, but not being an angler myself, I asked Captain Greg Kembro of Apalachicola Fishing why he thought Jesus called fishermen. Greg has 35 years of fishing experience and is a Christian. He replied, “Maybe that is the answer, Jesus knew if he could win them he could win anyone and the people would see that. A large portion of the charter captains are rough and can be a bad experience for your wife or children that is why I let it be known (sic) that I try to make folks comfortable. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a good fisherman, also traits of a good Christian. If you have all the tools you need and all the knowledge in the world about fishing and you do not put them together and in motion, you will never catch a fish. Jesus saw men of action that got things done and went after them and made them fishers of men.”

In what other ways does fishing parallel ministry? Why do you think Jesus built his ministry around former fishermen?

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