I wonder what those first disciples thought when Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”?. He was issuing a command and challenge to them. The command was, follow me and the challenge was becoming fishers of men.
Jesus was using an image that they easily understood for James and John, Andrew and Peter were all fishermen. In today’s terms they ran small businesses. They caught fish and I expect that they sold them in the market to get money for other things they needed. The fish would also provide them with part of their staple diet, and they would have known a good number of other fishermen and probably thought that their lives would be just like the other people they knew.
It appears to me that somehow, they knew Jesus, after all, why would anybody want to follow a stranger. Following him would mean giving up the family business and learning about his teaching and then passing that teaching on to other people. It would be a vastly different life and they would suffer from it. The only disciple we know lived to an old age was john, and it is probably safe to assume that some of the others at least were jailed and executed for proclaiming what Jesus taught them. However, they were God’s chosen vessels to proclaim the gospel to others and they did it in spite of what they suffered. They were commissioned by God for the task and they did it faithfully and what they said has come down to us today in the bible.
Are we fishers of men today? The task of reaching the lost is still not finished. We still need to be telling people about Jesus and praying that some will respond to what they hear. We may be mocked and in some parts of the world Christians still, die for their faith. It is our responsibility to be faithful to God and to tell people how to be saved.