On "fishing"

There is a well-known metaphor in the Bible that Jesus used to describe the nature of ushering people into the kingdom. As he called the first disciples, He told them that He'd make them "fishers of men." This is a terrific metaphor that Jesus used, but all to often I hear it used in ways that Jesus never meant.

Fishing is something that everyone knows about. First, you bait your hook, then you stick it in the water, then you waited for a fish to bite on the bait, and then you reel them in. This is a very accurate description of fishing... for the twentieth century.

During Jesus' lifetime as a human, fishing looked entirely different. No poles, no bait, no hooks. First, you got a net [and probably some friends to help because nets were pretty large], then you throw the net over one side of the boat, then you drag the net and lift it into the boat, and when the boat's full, you row ashore to separate between good fish and the rest of it.

To speak of evangelism as tempting a person [singular] to grab something that's harmful to them is not accurate at all. To speak of evangelism as a communal experience where people [plural] are gathered up into a web looks a lot more like the fishing Jesus was talking about when he said, "I will make you fishers of men."

Thanks to Michael Frost for illuminating the first-centurty fishing experience and contrasting it with the twentieth-century one.