“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.” Mark 1: 35-39
Did you notice what Jesus said after His disciples found Him? “Let’s go somewhere else…so I can preach there also…that is why I have come.”
There is no doubt from this text that the priority of Jesus was “fishing for men.” He had come to preach to all who would hear Him. His agenda was to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all who were weary, without hope, and desperate for change. And those who were following Him were expected to adopt the same agenda.
Look at what Jesus was doing before the disciples found Him. He was spending time with His Father in prayer. It was His habit to slip away and commune with His Father. He often said He was doing only what He saw the Father do or saying what He heard the Father say. These times alone were empowering, intimate, and instructive times. These times alone with the Father were crucial and not optional. However, when He was interrupted by His disciples, He didn’t scold them. Instead, He redirected their attention to the priority task of “fishing for men.”
There is an important lesson to be learned here. Our love for God and His Word is never to be used as an excuse to neglect God’s call on our life to “fish for men.” As a follower of Jesus, it’s tempting to want to spend all my time just sitting at His feet and listening to what He has to say. There’s always more to learn and experience. But there’s a reason we are still here on earth. It’s to connect others to Jesus. Time is very short and our windows of opportunity to share Jesus with others will not remain open indefinitely.
Jesus was interrupted while doing something He loved to do, something He preferred to do, something He had to do – spend time with His Father. It, however, did not deter Him from doing the one thing He had come to do. We need to follow His example. Cultivating one’s devotional life and spending time alone with God is not a substitute for “fishing for men.” It’s not an either/or proposition. Followers of Jesus spend time with Jesus. But followers of Jesus have been called to “fish for men.”
May this word serve as our interruption and reminder to “go somewhere else” and “fish for men”.