One approach to better understanding terms like disciple is to look into the biblical text and to review the historical and cultural context in which Christ’s command to make disciples was made. It was no coincidence that Jesus picked eight fishermen to be among His twelve disciples (John 21).
These simple Galilean men were rough and somewhat pedestrian in their thinking. Their Jewish roots, filled with passion and prejudice, often presented challenges to learning new ideas. Despite their obvious skill and success in the fishing community, these practical, hard-working men would soon give up their stinky, hand-woven nets to catch the vision of Christ’s ministry.
In a similar manner, Jesus is asking each of us to make room in our lives for His calling: to carry out His plan that each one of us begin to disciple others.
Jesus wanted to relate to men who understood the challenges of life in a unique way; men who dealt with the mysteries of nature. He realized that many of the principles, methods, and techniques used in relating to people on a spiritual basis are very similar to those used in fishing.
He knew, for example, that a fisherman is always active on the boat. If he’s not busy working the nets, he’s busy cutting bait or chumming it overboard or adjusting the sails; a fisherman is never idle, and he is no spectator on the job. Jesus knew that this would be a basic requirement of all His disciples, and it was His desire to utilize common everyday men to be among His twelve.
By showing the disciples how to apply His teachings, they could then pursue the ultimate fishing challenge—becoming fishers of men! Jesus wanted to lead them on the fishing adventure of a lifetime where the rewards have eternal consequences with net-breaking excitement.
Taken from The Spiritual Mentor,by Jim Grassi