“Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19)

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matt. 4:18-20)

What does Jesus' request mean?

Is Jesus talking about these soon-to-be followers catching men in the ocean as they would fish?

The analogy Jesus uses regarding "I will make you fishers of men" is describing his request that they pass on his teachings to others - teaching them the Truth about our home and relationship with the Supreme Being.

This is what Jesus was doing in his preaching mission. Passing on the teachings about God, which was also done by Jesus' teacher, John the Baptist, along with the prophets that came before John.

Jesus was not making his teachings up. He often quoted David, Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah and others in his teachings. Even Jesus' most important teaching - to love God - was quoted from Moses.

Now Jesus wanted his students to pass on those teachings. He wanted them to also carry forth the same teachings that he was carrying forth to others.

Is Jesus the only teacher?

It is ironic that even with verses like this and many others, some sectarian preachers teach that only Jesus can teach, and only Jesus can save us. Yet Jesus himself was requesting that others receive his teachings and then become teachers to others. This is what "fishers of men" means.

Yes, Jesus is requesting that Peter and Andrew also become teachers.

Not only will Peter and Andrew become teachers, but they will teach to many others during their lifetimes - many of whom will also become teachers, or "fishers of men."

This point is very clear: Jesus clarified by his actions that each of us should accept a bona fide teacher - by his acceptance of John the Baptist (who himself was preaching and saving others) and Jesus' various requests to his students to learn under him and then turn around and become teachers to save others.

Note here that Jesus' statement offers no organizational or institutional regimen. It was simply these men following and learning under Jesus, after which they would become "fishers of men." There was no pomp and circumstance involved. No official bathing or dipping ceremony was required. It was quite simply Jesus taking on these students and teaching them the truth, after which they were to teach others.

This is the custom throughout the ancient times of the Old Testament, as well as among every bona fide religious teaching in human history. The path to God is through his messengers, who have themselves established a personal loving and serving relationship with God.

Jesus' statement again evidences the succession of the time-honored process of passing on spiritual teachings gained from the great teachers that preceded us. Jesus honored this tradition. This is why he took baptism from John.

This is not about receiving a divinity degree and a paid position within a church. It is not a political process. God empowers those who are able to pass on the teachings of those pure teachers such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham and David.

This is also not about creating an artificial relationship with God based upon mental speculation and emotional sentiment. God is a Person and if we want to come to know Him we must follow the path to Him that He gives us: This is why God sent Jesus: To guide us back to Him.