Jesus had called his disciples to be fishers of men. He wanted them to leave their actual fishing nets and dedicate their lives to teaching others about the blessings available through the gospel of Christ.
The gospel of salvation is like a great fishing net that is cast into the sea of humanity. Many individuals are attracted to the net. They have been given an opportunity for very special blessings.
Unfortunately, many turn away and are never really caught up in the hope of salvation.
The Gospel message that Jesus and his disciples taught centered around "the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ".
It was "good news" for all that were willing to hear, and who were looking for a future.
The gospel message was said to be the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believed it.
Those who gladly heard the gospel words believed and were baptized, in obedience to the commandment of God.
We are told in Galatians 3 that those who were baptized into Christ were part of his family. It did not matter if they were Jew or Greek by nature. It was not important whether they were male, female, bond or free men. They were now all one in Christ Jesus. As members of his body, they would become heirs to the promises that had been made to Abraham in the Old Testament.
These promises included not only the land of promise, but also a blessing. Abraham had been told that "all families of the earth would be blessed through one of his descendents.
We understand that this descendent was Jesus. It was Jesus, that made it possible for our sins to be forgiven, through his sacrifice. (Acts 3:25-26)
What a wonderful blessing this is. To have the guilt of sin removed.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin". ( see 1 John 1: 9, Rom 4: 7-8 )
If we have believed the gospel as taught by the disciples of Christ, and if we have been baptized into his name, we will share in the blessing promised to Abraham in two ways:
We can approach God in prayer through our mediator (who is Jesus), and have our sins forgiven during this present life.
When we stumble through weakness, God will hear our prayers, in the name of Jesus, and he may remove our sins in accordance with his will.
If we remain faithful during our life in Christ, keeping his commandments, we have the hope for eternal life in God's Kingdom on this earth. It will be God's pleasure to extend his mercy to us when Jesus returns to judge his saints.
When we remember that Jesus chose a few common fishermen to be his disciples, we can feel confident that no matter what our occupation is, there is an opportunity for us to embrace the hope that is available through the gospel net.
We can share in the blessings that are promised through the gospel, and we can learn to become fishers of men also.
There are others who may be waiting to hear the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. We can share our blessing with them.
We can help others to understand the promises that God has made through the gospel of salvation.
God promised Abraham he would be the heir of a world that would be filled with God's glory in the future. He also promised that all nations would be blessed when the Kingdom comes.
Christ is the key to those blessings and we all have an opportunity to share in them, through and in his name.
We are told in the Book of Romans that the Old Testament scriptures were written for our learning so that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
As we read from the Books of the Law, or from the Psalms and the Prophets, we have the wonderful opportunity to share the same words that strengthened and motivated our Lord Jesus Christ while he was resisting temptation and learning obedience.
We remember that Jesus often found strength in the written Word of God. He used the scriptures of truth to help him overcome the desires of his flesh.
He understood very early in his life, what would be required of him as he struggled to fulfill his role as our savior.
The advanced knowledge of the terrible death that he would experience would have been more than most men could bear.
He knew also however, that his sufferings would only be for the present and that if he remained faithful, his pain would be followed by future glory.
In Hebrews 12 we are encouraged to consider this example of Jesus, "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God".
If Jesus was motivated by the coming glory and joy of God's Kingdom on this earth, then we also can be inspired by the hope that we have to be heirs with him of the promises.
There were many words of encouragement in the inspired writings of the Old Testament that would have been an inspiration to Jesus in his life.
We are told that the words of scripture were not just the writings of men. Those words were written by "holy men of old, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit". The scriptures were completely inspired by God.
Jesus knew that he was reading the words that his Father had inspired to be written, both for him and for all of the servants of God. He could depend on every word to be true, and every promise to be sure.
Jesus would have found comfort in the same words that we can be motivated by today. Words such as written in Psalm 23:
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Jesus was to be the "good shepherd". He undoubtedly learned about that role as he thought about the 23rd Psalm.
He knew that he could depend on his Father in heaven to be a shepherd for him. In the same way, he was prepared to provide his own followers with the blessings associated with being part of the flock.
There are so very many wonderful words of comfort and hope in the Holy Scriptures. Jesus would certainly have taken comfort in these words from
"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.-
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away".
Isaiah's words are typical of the many beautiful words of inspiration that God provided as a comfort to his children.
We have hope through the promises revealed in the Bible. God's word is sure and He will always accomplish the things that he has promised.
God has unlimited power for all eternity to carry out his promises. Men, however, are without the power to guarantee their words. We cannot depend on any of the promises that man has made. Men may have very good intentions but they are only mortals.
We are therefore instructed in Psalms 146:
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."
Jesus showed us that we should trust not in man. Our trust should be in the Creator of heaven and earth:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths".
Jesus instructed his followers to pray. The Lord's prayer is familiar to all of us. The prayer opens with an address to God as "our Father" It is a special blessing for those who are the brothers and sisters of Jesus, through baptism into his name, to be able to approach God as our Father in heaven.
Prayer through Christ is one of the greatest benefits that we have at our disposal. It is through prayer that we can always find comfort and hope.
During these perilous times, when evil and corruption cause hearts to fail for fear, we can always depend on our Father for help in the time of need.