Felicity at “Simply Church” has written a couple of very good posts examining the various times that Jesus referred to fishing. The posts are called “Commercial Fishing” and “Commercial Fishing (Part 2).” (I can’t tell if there’s going to be a Part 3 and beyond or not.)
When I think of fishing, I usually think about a rod and reel (or a cane pole)… one fisherman, one fishing pole, one fish. But, it looks like when Jesus talked about fishing, he referred to many different kinds of fishing, most of them involving nets, not poles.
Felicity begins here posts with a couple of stories. This is one of them:
Shortly after this we went to India and one of the people we were with works with fishermen on the coast of India. So I asked him about how they fish. (These would be primitive fishermen, probably very little different from fishermen in Jesus’ day.) He told me that they have different kinds of nets depending on the circumstances and what they are trying to catch. They have a funnel net which is the kind of net they use when they don’t have boats. They also have a drag net which is maybe 800 to 900 yards long for when they have more than one boat. There are actually several different kinds of nets that are used.
Then, she ends the second post with a very good set of questions:
The question I am pondering these days is, “How do we ‘let the kingdom of heaven’ down into the community around us? Especially here in the West where people are jaded and inoculated against the Gospel. What kind of fishing net will catch a multitiude of fish?
These questions bring up a point that I’ve been pondering for a while. In the New Testament, we see various contexts in which people (who were not already followers of Jesus) were actually expecting others to express their views about God and in which they were interested in hearing what someone might say (whether they ended up agreeing or disagreeing). Do those contexts exist today?