The Gospel Net of Evangelism (Luke 5:1-11)
After teaching the people from Peter’s ship, the Lord instructed him to let down the net for a draught/catch (Luke 5:4). Because fishing was his occupation and due to the fact that he had toiled all night and had caught nothing he was reluctant; “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net,” he said. The amount of fish was so abundant he summoned his fishing partners James and John to help him with the net. The additional help was woefully deficient to the degree of what the sea yielded and both ships began to sink. All were amazed by the miraculous event but none more than Peter. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes, which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (Luke 5:8-11).
Just as it is understood that fisherman is an occupation and not a hobby it should likewise be understood that fishing for men/evangelism is much more than an occasional endeavor. Evangelism requires effort, commitment, and wisdom (Pr. 11:30; Matt. 10:16). The Gospel Net of eternal salvation is not just for immediate family and close friends but for all the lost. A net does not discriminate as it is for all fish such as neighbors, coworkers, classmates, business associates, extended family members, and even the person we may strike a conversation with while standing in line at the local Family Dollar if an opportunity presents itself (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Pet. 3:15). Spiritual fishermen have the duty of getting lost fish into the net but it will be the Lord’s responsibility of separating the keepers from those that should be thrown back. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:47-50). The obligation of helping everyone caught in the net to mature into a keeper is ours also (2 Tim. 2:2).
In doing our part in the work of evangelism we must utilize teamwork. The outcome of Peter working with the Lord was a great harvest (Luke 5:4-7; cf. John 4:34-35). The future apostle needed his co-laborers James and John to help with the bountiful harvest. We too must not do the work of evangelism alone. It is a collective effort that we should labor in concert in pulling the net into the Lord’s ship/church. For example, there are some in our own country, among our own kin, in our own homes who will not hear us (Mark 6:4). It could be near impossible for me to win my lost mama because she will not accept that I have a better understanding of God’s will than she has. Because, when she contemplates how she is my mama, and how she raised and taught me, and how she has been religious much longer than I have, there may only be so much I am able to say before she tunes me out. However, because she loves and respects me, I will probably be able to setup a bible study with her and other brethren whom she may hear. In this way, we are using our influence and teamwork to win her. “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6). We fish/labor together with God (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1).