“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30 ESV
Jesus had to put up with all kinds of criticism and accusations. On one occasion, Jesus healed and cast a demon out of a man who was both blind and mute. It was said that the reason He could do this was because He was somehow connected to Beelzebub, the prince of demons. (12:22-24). Therefore, whatever He was up had to be wrong and that His motives were sinister.
Isn’t it amazing how people can always find something wrong with a good thing? In Jesus’ case, the religious leaders of the day were threatened by the popularity of and growing loyalty to Jesus. They sought to get rid of or discredit Him in whatever way possible. It didn’t matter if their accusations were maliciously false.
A “fisher of men” is a follower of Jesus Christ who has chosen to embrace His agenda of “fishing for men.” Fishing for men involves pleading with people to turn away from a life that is self destructive and distant from God and placing their faith and loyalty in the One who offers forgiveness for sin and a new start, Jesus Christ.
Some people aren’t going to like it when you carry out this agenda. Some will say, “Who are you to judge a person and say that they would need to be forgiven?” Others will say that, “we shouldn’t be so intolerant and insist that Jesus is the only way.” And then others will say, “I just don’t think you ought to be pushing your religious beliefs down anybody’s throat.”
Let me ask you a question. How in the world do you think a person is going to know that there is a God who loves them unless you tell them? And how could they possibly know how to experience the forgiveness and new life that God offers unless someone takes the time to share the Gospel with them.
The agenda of Jesus and His followers involves passing on the Good News (the Gospel) of how a man or woman can connect with God and live the life they were created for. A “fisher of men,” by definition, is committed to that agenda.
The ones who would criticize you for living out the agenda of a “fisher of men” don’t have a better plan. They just don’t like this plan. Also, there’s something polarizing about being confronted with the practicalities of what it means to be a loyal follower of Christ. In fact, Jesus takes it one step further and says if you’re “not with me” you’re “against me.” He continues by saying, “whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
If Jesus was criticized for His agenda then, you can certainly expect to be criticized for carrying out His agenda today. Remember His agenda? He said if you follow Him, He would make you “fishers of men.” Don’t let the criticism of others keep you from being a vital part of the most redemptive mission ever.
Today looks like a great day to go fishing. Got your fishing pole ready?