REDEEMED TO BECOME FISHERS OF MEN
Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. – Matthew 4:19
Christ came into the world to win souls for the heavenly kingdom where He now reigns at the right hand of God the Father. His mission was to redeem us from the path to eternal damnation. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” were His first public words after His baptism at the River Jordan and His wilderness experience (see Matthew 4:17), and these words resonate throughout His earthly ministry. In truth, this was the core of His mission on earth.
To achieve this earthly mission, without wasting time He recruited common men and commissioned them to spread His core message to humanity, Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. From the outset He made it clear to His first recruits, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (see Matthew 4:19). And at the climax of His earthly ministry, He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (See Mark 16:15-16).
Today, many of us have embraced this Good News, baptized and redeemed. Hence, we have become Christs faithful Christians. Like the first apostles of Christ, we are also chosen to herald the Good News to our brothers and sisters, communities and nations. Yes, we were redeemed to proclaim the Good News, to become fishers of men and not fishermen. So, as Christians, it is not enough to go to church daily and be fine with the title: “I am a born again.” The born again, baptized or redeemed child of God is zealous for God’s mission – witnessing to the Good News as we saw in the lives of the first commissioned or apostles of Christ,
For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. – Acts 4:20
This was the position of our patriarchs when they were cautioned and warned not to speak in the name of Jesus Christ our redeemer or propagate His Good News to mankind. They were zealous for Christs mission and were ready to lay down their lives for many souls to escape the fierce fiery fire of hell. In truth, many of them did sacrifice their lives for you and me to become Christ-redeemedChristians.
All Christs commissionedborn again, redeemed Christiansmust rise up to their calling. We need to tell the world how much God loves them. We need to defend and preserve our Faith which is currently under threat from within and without. We need to tell the sheep which have strayed that God still cares about them and is reaching out to them daily. We must be witnesses by words, deeds and the very way we live our lives. The Scripture says, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. (See Luke 10:2-3).
A Christians mission in the world is splendid, it is a mission intended for everyone, it is a mission of service, excluding no one!
– Pope Francis
Today, we need to ask ourselves if we are part of the kingdom’s labourers, who are ever willing to harvest more souls for the Kingdom of God. Yes, we really need to ask ourselves if we are fishers of men or just fishermen who are only after the manna God is providing for His creatures. As “born again,” baptized or redeemed children of God, we must seize every opportunity to minister the word of God in our families, neighbourhoods, places of work whether private or governmental, market, social or community gatherings. We must let our actions and deeds reflect the Christ in us. Those who have encounters with us should say, “(S)he is a true Christian.”
Beloved brothers and sisters, as fishers of men, we must make use of every available channel to reach out to our present world which is filled with hate and longing for worldly pleasures. As the commissioned of Christ, we must correct one another in love. We must be ready to counsel those who need counsel, comfort those who need comfort, help those who need help, redirect those who have veered off the path of life. We must be prepared to call what is wrong wrong and what is good good. We must reach out to the world by words from the pulpit, media, on the streets, in the car, social media platforms or one-on-one. If you are shy to speak, use tracts or podcast. Our deeds must not contradict our message because,
The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today – Francis of Assisi
The redeemed children of God must stand with Christ in private and in public, in the church and in the world. We must not be seasonal Christians: When it is day or even in public we are for Christ, and when it is dark or in private we are against Christ, or vice versa. If we are truly born again, baptized and redeemed, then our actions must indeed acknowledge it. The born again, baptized or redeemed must be ready at all times to gather with Christ witnessing to the Good News and winning souls for our Redeemer Jesus Christs Kingdom.
Christ said, Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters” (see Matthew 12:30). Today, where do you stand? Are you gathering with Christ fishing souls for His kingdomor you are scattering – leading many astray? Beloved, there is no neutral position, as the Scripture affirmed, To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of Gods creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarmneither hot nor coldI am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:14-16). Hence, Apostle Paul said,
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (See 1 Corinthians 9:16).
The best way for us to gather with Christ is to be loving, caring, charitable, truthful, patient, humble, chaste, prayerful, be just, defending and preserving the Good News. In truth, we must always be Christ-centered beings. It might be difficult. Yes, it will inflict some pains on you. It will surely cost you a lot. But rejoice as Christ said, for your reward will be great in Heaven (see Matthew 5:11-12).
Sigh! Must I wait for the Heavenly reward? If you must wait for anything in life, beloved brothers and sisters, let it be the heavenly reward. The earth, with all it contains, is being eroded (see 1 John 2:17). They only last for a moment and fade away forever. But the heavenly reward, though it may tarry for a while, will last forever when it finally comes. Always remember: we are in the world but not of the world (see John 17:6). Redeemed, baptized or born again beings are heavenly candidates. Therefore, live the Christ-like life by your words and deeds to the service and redemption of the world.
Lord Jesus Christ, help me with the grace to offer myself as an instrument to defend and preach the Good News to the whole world and to win souls for Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.