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Looking at Jesus’ fishing metaphors

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in blog links | 3 comments

Looking at Jesus’ fishing metaphors

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?


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  1. 7-19-2012

    Can you give us some biblical examples, Alan, of the sorts of contexts you have in mind?

    Maybe I’m being a bit dim, but I’m not clear what you’re driving at. One or two NT references might help. Are there similar contexts and conversations in the OT also? Thanks.

  2. 7-19-2012


    I think there are a few examples in the NT. For example, in the Jewish context, when they gathered as a synagogue, they expected different people to speak and discuss the Scriptures. In a broader context, the marketplace of the typical greco-roman city was the place where people gathered to not only discuss current events, but to also discuss philosophy. We see both of these examples several times in the NT.


  3. 7-21-2012

    Ah yes, I understand; thanks for clarifying.

    Just given it a very quick thought – I’d have to say such contexts do seem to be remarkably rare these days. If I can think of any I’ll let you know.