Jesus told his disciples who fished for a living, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Commercial fishermen are disappointed if, when they pull in their net, there is only a single fish flopping about. They hope and expect to catch multiple fish at a time. Remember Peter’s dejection when he’s fished all night and caught nothing?
It’s interesting to note that in the Book of Acts, there are only two people who become followers of Jesus as individuals—Paul and the Ethiopian Eunuch. Everyone else becomes a disciple as part of a group.
- Following a vision, Peter visits Cornelius who has gathered together a group of friends and relatives in his home. When they are all filled with the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by their speaking in tongues, Paul gives orders for them to be baptized. (Acts 10) A whole household follows Jesus in a single day.
- When Paul goes to Philippi, he speaks to some women at the riverbank. Lydia opens her heart to Jesus and she and her household are baptized. (Acts 16: 11-15)
- A few days later, Paul and Silas are jailed. A massive earthquake sets them free, but when they don’t take the opportunity to escape, the jailer invites them to his home where they share the word of the Lord with him and his household. Again, the whole household is baptized. “He and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.” (Acts 16:16-34)
- When Paul finds a group of people (about twelve men) in Ephesus who have only been baptized with John’s baptism, he baptizes them and prays for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-6)
What’s the difference? How did those early followers of Jesus get these results?
Jesus had taught his disciples how to be “commercial fishermen” for the Kingdom–not in the sense of making money, but in the sense of bringing in a large catch.
All around the world, God is using this pattern to bring in a massive harvest. Why not here too? We’ll look at how this works in later posts.