We all know someone who would just rather be on the water "fishin"...as they say in the South. Some of you know that person really well because that person is you! I can't say that fishing is one my favorite things to do, but I appreciate the art behind it. There is a certain peace and tranquility that's realized when you are on a boat or near the water casting a line to hook a fish. You always know the reason you're there, but you don't know what you'll catch until you're finished. There are a multitude of tactics you can employ to improve your chances of catching a fish and successfully reeling it in, but even the best fisherman in the world still come up empty. Truth be told, even Jesus was no stranger to fishing.
The two most popular stories in the New Testament involving Jesus and fish are found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew, we learn about Jesus taking time to acknowledge a crowd of people who were hungry (at least 5,000 men) and miraculously feeding them with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (Matthew 14:13-21). In Luke, Jesus hears about some of his future disciples having trouble catching fish. When Jesus gives the command for them to cast their net into deep water, much to their surprise, they caught so many fish that their nets began to break (Luke 5:1-11). So, what's the big deal about Jesus and fish? The Greek word for fish is "ichthys", which helped develop the acrostic term "ichthus." In the word "ichthus" the Greek letters are symbols for words that mean "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." If you don't believe me, look it up!
Many Christian scholars will say that the point of Jesus' fish stories were not to simply depict miracles, but to serve as an account for the mass distribution of the most important message ever to be told. In both stories, Jesus won over the hearts of people who dropped everything they were doing to follow Him. Jesus calls us all to be "Fishers of Men", and that's no coincidence. It's time we all grab our hooks (Bibles) and go fishin'.