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We’re the Salt & Light of the World, and the Fishers of Men


Jesus told his disciples (and we’re also his disciples), “Ye are the salt of the earth:  but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”  i.e. road salt.  “Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle [lamp] and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)  So Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth, and salt was used in that day as a food preservative and powerful antiseptic.  He also said we are to be the light of the world.  How are we to be salt and light?  He tells us in verse 16, by our good works.  He didn’t say good talk, preaching or speech, but by our good works. 


We’re Supposed To Be Fishers of Men


Let’s see where Jesus takes this theme.  Matthew 4:18-19, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea:  for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  So by being followers of Jesus, his disciples, we are supposed to be fishers of men.  That would imply we are to draw, attract and lure people to Jesus and salvation through him.  Fishermen in Jesus day went out to the northern tip of Galilee in their fishing boats at night (where it was shallow and the fish would come up to feed at night).  They had to have lanterns, lamps lighted on a pole or up on the mast to see what they were doing.  It also helped attract the fish.  Let’s put this into the context of modern fishing.  Many of you have seen The Perfect Storm, a movie based on a true story about a Long-liner tuna boat named the Andrea Gail and her crew.  It showed how they fished for tuna at night.  They would get to a spot in the ocean where their sonar told them there were fish schooling, the kind tuna feed on.  Then at night, they would send out long fishing lines, steel lines with mackerel set on hooks along the line on leaders.  As they bated these leaders that were paying out as the boat moved forward at about 2 knots (slowly cruising forward), a crewman next to a big box filled with lightsticks near the stern would be grabbing handfuls of lightsticks, snapping them to activate them, and he would be throwing them off the stern as the boat moved forward (so the light sticks would be floating above the line being paid out).  The lightsticks would attract the tuna up near where the lines and leaders were that had the mackerel bated hooks near the surface.  After the lines were all payed out they waited until daylight, and then they started hauling them in.  If they had been correct in their estimation that tuna were in the area, they hauled in a good load of large tuna one after another.  In Peter’s day, they would haul their boatload of fish to shore, gut and clean them, and immediately salt them down to preserve them for shipment and sale in places as far away as Jerusalem, and even Rome.  Properly salted cod has lasted for years, and was still edible (once soaked in fresh water to get rid of the salt).


God the Father chooses each individual fish and “sets the hook”


So how does this analogy work?  Jesus said God the Father draws people to Jesus.  Jesus said, “No man [or woman] can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:  and I will raise him [or her] up at the last day.” (John 6:44)  So it is the ultimate responsibility of God the Father to select who is to be drawn to Jesus.  But putting this in context with the other Scriptures we just looked at, God is using us as light sticks, light, through our good works (not necessarily through our talk), to draw people to the mackerel-bated hooks on the leaders.  God the Father chooses each individual.  The skipper on a long-liner would try to choose his fishing ground carefully, going to rich fishing grounds, and using sonar to locate schools of fish the tuna feed on.  Then they would wait till night, and start setting out their lines and throwing light sticks out as the lines payed out.  As we do good works for those less fortunate than us, individually or as good works projects, each of us is like a powerful light stick.  But ultimately, it is the job of God the Father to ‘set the hook’, draw a person, draw a person to Jesus, open that person’s mind spiritually.  No amount of “good works” will do that.  It is a spiritual work done by God directly within that person’s mind, after they’ve been “drawn to the light.”  No amount of light will “hook the fish.”  That’s where prayer comes in, those in the church must be praying that those being drawn to the light are actually “called by God”, that God the Father opens their minds, making his presence known to them in an undeniable way.  You remember how God called you, it was up close and personal.


Jesus Chooses the Fishing Ground


Is there a rich fishing ground that Jesus has designated we fish in?  Yes, there is.  When Jesus started his ministry, he showed everyone in the synagogue where that area was, and then throughout his ministry he worked in that specific area.  Let’s see where it is.  Luke 4:16-21, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up:  and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah].  And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath appointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.  And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”  Jesus was quoting a prophecy about himself, found in Isaiah 61:1-2.  The apostle Paul showed the makeup of the Church, what kind of fish were being caught by God, and it fits right in with Jesus’ quote of Isaiah 61:1-2.  1st Corinthians 1:26-29, 31, “For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  that no flesh should glory in his presence…That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  That’s the fishing ground God the Father and Jesus are fishing from.  And as you can see, the apostle Paul was showing what kind of catch was coming into the early church of God in Corinth, as well as the other churches of God across Asia Minor, and even Judea and Jerusalem.  Look throughout the four Gospels and you will see that it was this kind of people Jesus focused his ministry on.  He was teaching them where to fish, and Paul explained why.  God hates prideful and arrogant attitudes.  So he reaches out to the humble and those who have been humbled and crushed by the society around them, by “the system.”   


Not All Being Called To Salvation In This Present ‘Church Age’


We know better than most that God is presently not calling the entire world, nor as we saw in 1st Corinthians, is he focusing on the strong, well off or wealthy of this world.  He is calling, his fishing ground, is the poor, maimed, blind, lame and sinners of the world (Jesus made a point of focusing on tax collectors and prostitutes, the despised of Jewish society), and today, you could add to that group the drug addicts and alcoholics and homeless as well, the real downtrodden.  And Paul explained why the strong and mighty are not being chosen right now.  We know all of them will receive their calling in due time, most of them during the 2nd resurrection (see  In today’s world, the fishing grounds are packed full of fish.  As Jesus said, the fields are white for harvest. 


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