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Preparation Needed

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Luke 5:4) With Jesus' words to His disciples I am reminded of the days Tom and I would pack our fishing gear and drive the short distance to the beach from our house to go surf fishing.

We needed to make sure we had everything we needed to catch Perch, or, better yet, the more-fleshy and evasive Corbina. Before casting into the Pacific Ocean, we had to make sure our basic equipment was in working order: long and sturdy rods with functioning reels, and, of course, a bucket to bring home our expected catch!

Before even setting foot on the beach, we needed to purchase the fishing license, the authority to fish according to law. Still, we couldn't start until we checked the Tide Table. Studying the natural feeding habits of fish, we knew fish naturally came in with the high tide to feed on tiny sand crabs being churned over and exposed from under the sand.

Since catching those elusive crabs and making sure they would stay on a hook was questionable, we approached the near-by bait shop, which recommended live blood worms! My equipment had to include a fish knife. I had to be willing to cut large, thick worms to the desired size in order for them to stay on the hook. I soon discovered when I cut into my first worm, why they were called, "blood" worms!

Any wonder why Jesus chose fishermen to be His disciples! Preparing to "catch" men for the kingdom of God, also takes preparation and patience. Jesus taught those apostles well. They observed His own actions first, providing them with many examples to follow. When they were ready, Jesus anointed, then sent them out.

"...and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:15).

"And He called the twelve to Him, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. (Mark 6:7-13)

"Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." (Luke 9:1-2)

A total of seventy other disciples were sent out, two by two, with instructions: "After these things the LORD appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go...And heal the sick who are there, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you." (Luke 10:9).

The third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead was to share breakfast, a fish barbeque, by the Sea of Tiberias with His disciples. "Come and eat breakfast." (John 21:12) It was Jesus inviting His friends to eat with Him, probably for the last time before He ascended into Heaven.

And finally, when Jesus was no longer around in person to direct them, the Holy Spirit at Pentecost filled the disciples with power and remembrance of their Lord's work. They continued to follow earlier instructions to bring in "catches" of such great numbers that, had their captures been real fish, their "nets" could not have held them!

And so, today, when we bring in our small catch from the ocean, perhaps including a puny undersized Corbina, the Lord reminds me of His delight in "catches" that fill up God's kingdom!

© Constance Vanides

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