Casting a Net Matthew 4
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 13, 2010
KJV Matthew 4:18-19
18. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
What does it mean to be fishers of men? We see the symbol of a fish all the time. Most often on the trunk of a car. Today a fish is used as a symbol to show others you are a Christian? Is there any saving power in a plastic symbol of a fish glued to the back of a trunk lid? Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. KJV Exodus 20:4.
God never intended that this parable should raise up an image, any type of physical image. But God did place a spiritual lesson is this parable. A spiritual lesson which can only be revealed through His word. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: KJV Isaiah 28:9-10.
To find the spiritual lesson God is teaching us we must search the scriptures. Thus saith the Lord God; I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people; and they shall bring thee up in my net. KJV Ezekiel 32:3. The physical net represents His followers. God’s people are to work with the Holy Spirit and His angles for the salvation of this world.
KJV Matthew 13:47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48. Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Herein lies the mystery of God’s word. The physical net represents His words and how they are linked together. As the net gathers all types of fish, so the plan of salvation calls all His people, both the good and the bad.
The mystery of God’s word is no mystery at all. Some may refer to it as a mystery. Some call it theology. At times the word of God is introduced in a confusing manner. Some teach that the word of God must be understood by rules. Often times these rules are not from God, but from men. For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul. Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. KJV Psalms 35:7-8.
Instead of making the word of God simple to understand, people have endeavored to weave their own words to trap the souls of people who are unaware, those who have not taken the time to develop a personal relationship with Christ. These people are easily trapped in a net fabricated by the words of man. A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet. KJV Proverbs 29:5.
Many people agree, we are to test every word, that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. KJV Deuteronomy 8:3, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 2 Timothy 2:15-16.
How do we protect ourselves from the nets that others spread before us? These nets have been prepared over many years. The deceptions have been laid out so well, it may be difficult to distinguish between truth and error. It often seems much easier to let others do our studying for us. We don’t have enough time. We do not even try but we complain it is too difficult. We spend time building up riches on earth, but little time building up treasure in Heaven. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? KJV Ecclesiastes 1:2-3.
They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Psalms 57:6. The net that men spin cannot stand up to the word of God. The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Proverbs 14:15, Colossians 1:10.
God is always watching over His people. We need to pray for His strength and guidance. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. KJV Psalms 31:4. Without God’s help we have a little hope of escaping the nets we may already be trapped in. Our prays must be constant and consistent. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. KJV Psalms 25:15
We should never let our guard down. Only the word of God can keep us on course. We fall victim to the nets of men when we take our eyes off God and place our trust in men. When we fail to study the word of God on our own. Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. KJV Deuteronomy 13:3.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. KJV Proverbs 1:5-7, Proverbs 30:5.
We will only be safe when we study God’s word. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;. Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. KJV Proverbs 2:9-16, Titus 1:16.
We can be sure God’s word will not only protect us, but will provide us with the understanding and means to help others. Using the simple word, net, God has provided understand beyond our comprehension. This illustrates the power of God’s word. Just as the physical let is linked together, God has used a single word to warn, encourage and to teach us how to become fishers of men. All linked together to reveal His plan of salvation. Luke and John have provided us with examples of God’s power.
KJV Luke 5:5. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
KJV John 21:6. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
When Jesus directed Simon when and how to cast down his nets, the results were a miracle. This is a lesson we need to pay close attention to. God has provided us with specific instructions of when and how to cast our nets. The emphasis lies in key word common to both parables, multitude. As we follow this thought and the word multitude through the scriptures we find many stories revealing God’s glory and His works. The greatest of all these is the multitude of God’s mercy toward us.
KJV Isaiah 63:7. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. 8. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
The gospels contains many stories about the multitudes which followed Jesus, all the miracles He performed and the words He spoke. After Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection we find examples of how His disciples continued the work of salvation. In the Book of Acts, Luke recorded these events so we would remember.
KJV Acts 2:39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
KJV Acts 4:4. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
Just as the net is used as a simple example to teach us many lessons, all of them pointing to salvation, the work God has given us to do is based upon a simple plan. The disciples baptized thousands by following this plan. A number of examples are given in Acts chapters 2, 3 and 4. Within these sermons we are given specific instructions of how to teach and what to teach.
KJV Acts 4: 10. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 13. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
What does it mean to teach in the name of Jesus Christ? When teaching in the name of Jesus we are to teach exactly what Christ taught and how He taught. We are to follow His example. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. KJV Luke 24:27. The disciples also taught the Jews and the Gentiles the prophecies revealing the life of Christ, His mission, work, sacrifice and resurrection. They also taught the parables they had learned from Jesus. They taught the people about the guaranteed salvation provided by Christ.
For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.
KJV Psalms 149:4-6, Isaiah 33:6.
This study shows an example of applying a few simple study methods to learn how to read and understand the word of God. It began by taking a single text, identifying a single key word, in this case the word, net, and following that word through the Bible.
The study also identifies a spiritual concept within the parable and explains what it means to be fishers of men. This can be done with any parable. As with every parable, the spiritual meaning can only be revealed through the word of God. Ezekiel 32:3 clearly identifies people as a net.
While interpreting a parable the physical characteristics must also be considered. A net is made up of many strings or pieces of rope interlaced together. The same concept is taught in Isaiah 28:9-10. God’s word is also linked together in a predetermined pattern all pointing to the plan of salvation. Just as a net is made up of one type of material, a parable can only be understood by using the word of God. Each phrase and thought must be carefully linked together. In this case the main thought centers on the promise Jesus gave to Simon, how to become a fisher of men.
The question should be asked, how do we become fishers of men? The answer is, to share the gospel.
As the word net is followed through the scriptures, we are shown there is a right way and a wrong way to share God’s word. The Bible supplies a number of texts which can be linked together to explain and illustrate this point. It is only a matter of collecting the texts and putting them together to maintain a single train of thought. The conclusion is, we must learn how to study the word of God, not only to protect ourselves, but to obtain the ability to share God’s word with others. This provides a series of texts using God’s word to explain why it is important to study.
The word net also shows how important it is to follow Jesus’ instructions when and how to share the gospel. When we follow these instructions we are guaranteed success. Leading us to, and combining all of these texts is the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a simple process which can be followed by anyone taking the time and having the desire to learn and understand God’s word.