“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” In both the Old and New Testaments, the references to fish and fishing are many and significant. The very fact that the majority of Apostles whom Jesus called to found and build the Church were fishermen is not a causal reference. There are profound reasons that makes this quite significant for our own understanding of the Bible and of the Church itself. This also has implications concerning our own individual call to be good and faithful followers of Christ in this world. Let’s explore a few of them:
1. Fishing takes patience.
Good things, like waiting for the fish to bite, take time and this is certainly the case with our spiritual lives. Overcoming harmful habits and unhealthy attitudes means that we be patient with ourselves first before moving to evangelize our family and friends.
2. Fishing requires humility.
The proverbial description of “the one that got away” and the exaggerated size of the alleged near-catch humorously illustrates the need for humility out on the water and for every Christian out in the world. For the follower of Jesus, there are no more bad days, but certainly some days are better than others.
3. Fishing involves a team of people.
Keep in mind the kind of fishing that is referenced in the Scriptures. It is not the sole figure on the lake with one rod waiting patiently for the long-awaited prize for supper. No, rather the kind of fishing in both the Old and New Testaments involved using nets, large nets, that required a team of people to bring in the haul. This is clearly good when we think that it takes a community gathered of one mind to effectively bring the Gospel to a displaced and broken world.
4. Fishing feeds people.
In early Christian churches, the Greek word for fish (ichthus) came to be interpreted as a sort of code word for the name of Jesus. You see, when you take the first letter of each of the Greek words for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” they spell “ichthus.” Although we cannot be sure when this identification first began or where it was first introduced, the fish has certainly become a standard Christian symbol. Perfect. We fish for Jesus, we fish with Him, and we bring Jesus to a hungering and starving people, all the while we become closer and closer. “’Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.”
Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish then cleans them. Mark Potter