Mending the Body of Christ
When Jesus first met His disciples as He walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, do you remember what they were doing? Fishing, right? As we open to Matthew 4, think with me about the type of men Jesus called to start His team of disciples. The first four were noted as “fishermen”.
Jesus Called Some FishermenAs His Apostles
Up before dawn, out in all types of weather, sitting in hard planked boats, straining over wet and smelly ropes and nets, fishing in Century One was not quite modern day sport fishing with a bass boat sporting swivel, high back, cushioned seats and a cooler of Cokes. Fishing was a messy, physically taxing, and never ending hard work. - Matthew 4:18-22
“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 fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”
If you notice there is repeated word and it is the word “nets”: the first group was casting the nets and the second group was mending the nets. Think about that word nets and how tied to the trade of fishing would be the usage and care of nets.
Mending Nets is What they did
Fishermen in the Sea of Galilee used special nets. These nets faced all the normal stresses of being the tools used in a fisherman’s work life: a net went back and forth from being wet and dry, from being in the Sun and shade; and from the weakening of dry rot to mold attacks.
Then there was the constant strain of being thrown into the water weighted down with small stone weights like lead sinkers all the way around the perimeter, and then as the nets were pulled back either ashore or into a boat they faced the fraying that would come of being pulled over the wooden edge of the boat or the rocks of the shore.
So it would be common for these disciples to spend much time doing what verse 21 calls “mending” their nets. They would sit on the shore, and section by section look over the haul ropes, the mesh of the actual nets, all of the knots that held everything together, and the small weights that were dangling from the edges. This was a slow, methodical, expected part of keeping the nets always ready for use.
I’d like to ask you to do something with me. As I read Matthew 4 this week I circled that word “mending” and wrote in the margin of my Bible a reference, and a definition. So, if you find a pen, please circle “mending” and some where nearby in the margin write: Ephesians 4:12 “equipping” is the same word.
Now if you did that small study note in your Bible, you just made a connection that could transform the rest of your life this side of Heaven. It just so happens that the simple work of a fisherman in Galilee in Christ's time of mending the nets is the same concept that Jesus said would be part of the dual “employment” of each of the members of His Church.
Please click here to discover the answer to, “What exactly is an equipping church?”
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