Fishers of Men

I apologized for it yesterday, but I should probably do it again.  I’m all for trying to take the gender specificity out of Scripture when possible.  I’m not sure repeating the word God eleven times in a sentence is helpful, as in “God is fully known only by God God’s self, God’s only Son, and God’s Holy Spirit,” or some such thing.  I do think that expanding “brothers” to include “sisters” make a whole lot of sense, and in most cases swapping out men and mankind for people and humankind is a wise move.  There is, however, one place where I’m a bit old fashioned, Matthew 4:19, as Jesus calls out to Andrew and Simon Peter saying,  in the NRSV, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”  I understand the intent, but it just doesn’t have the flow that the King James and old RSV had in “I will make you fishers of men.”  And, yes, I know that the Greek is better translated with a somewhere in the middle version, “fishers of people.”

Of course, in either case, the gist is the same, Jesus has called Peter and Andrew to a new vocation of Evangelist.  In yesterday’s post, I posited that Jesus had used this call specifically for these two brothers who made their living as fishermen, but as I’ve thought more about it, reflecting on the Collect and the lesson from 1 Corinthians, I can’t help but think that maybe, on some level, we are all called to be fishers of men.  In Ephesians 4:11, Paul specifically lists evangelism as a gift of the Spirit, and certainly some are gifted Evangelists, but it seems to me that the work of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is a universal expectation of the faithful.

This is, of course, a frightening realization for many Christians who would rather have a root canal then tell someone about Jesus, but as I mentioned on Tuesday, it really has nothing to do with us.  Just as it had nothing to do with Simon Peter and Andrew.  Jesus doesn’t say to them, “Y’all are smart enough, savvy enough, and good at sales, c’mon with me.”  No, instead Jesus says, “I will make you fishers of people.”  He’ll give you what you need.  He’ll provide the access.  He’ll supply the words.  He’ll do the work, all Simon Peter, Andrew, and I have to do is be willing to a) experience God’s presence in my life and b) share how that presence has been a blessing to me.  As a broken pen once told me, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.”  He did it for the hot headed Zebedee brothers, for that blow-hard, Peter, and for his brother Andrew, and he’ll do it for you.

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