You might remember many stories from the bible involving Jesus and fish. He was always talking about fish and handing out fish to eat. He traveled all over the place with fishermen, and, more importantly, Jesus chose fishermen for the important job of spreading his word and building his church.
One of the symbols of Christianity is the fish symbol, seen above. The Greek word for “fish” is “ichthus” (here’s what it looks like in Greek – ἰχθύς), and each letter is the first letter of the words Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior (Ἰησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ Υἱός Σωτήρ).
What I’m saying is, the fish is a major component of the imagery of Christianity. Here’s what I found in a 30 second Google search -
Jesus called disciples in terms of fishing, saying ”from now on you will be catching men” (Lk 5:1-10). Two stories of miraculous catches of fish are told in Luke 5:1-11 and John 21:1-8. All of the gospel writers agree that he fed thousands with fish and bread. There was the feeding of 5000 (John 6:1-14), and the feeding of the 4000 (Mark 8:1-9). He compares the kingdom of heaven to a fishing net (Matt 13:47-48). Jesus often preached from fishing boats (Matt 13:1-3; Mark 4:1-9; Luke 5:1-3) and sailed in fishing boats (Mark 4:35-41; Matt 8:23-27). Jesus was given fish to eat after his resurrection in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36-43), and he cooked fish for his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:9-14).
But there’s one more story. You may have heard it in church right around April 15th. Jesus paid taxes with a coin found in the mouth of a fish (Matt 17:24-27).
I have heard this story many times in church and in bible study classes, and I always wonder how in the world did the coin get in the fish’s mouth? I have made up some unlikely scenarios in the past. Maybe there was a wind storm and some coins blew off a table somewhere and ended up in the water. Maybe someone was using the Sea of Galilee as a wishing well. Could be that someone had a rough day/life and all they had left was a few coins, and in disgust, he pitched them into the water. I mean, coins are shiny, fish like shiny stuff, so if a shiny coin ends up in the water somehow, it’s not inconceivable that a fish would try to eat it. Right?
Think about it from the perspective of the fish. Fish are not all that smart, although apparently they can be trained if you’re a Mythbuster (that’s video proof if you follow the link). Fish just kinda float there until something catches their attention, and if it looks anything like food they lunge for it, put it in their mouth, then dart off the other direction.
I’ve caught fish with a paperclip before – no bait, just a shiny, shiny paperclip. Think what a fish must be thinking if a coin is slowly tumbling through the water – “Shiny. Must be food. I will eat it.”
That’s about the extent of it if you’re a fish. The coin got there somehow, right?
Could be that it was just flat out a miracle. Jesus said there’d be a coin and there was one, end of story.
It’s not really the end though. The same God who called the disciples, who filled the nets with fish, who fed thousands with a little kid’s Lunchable, that same God is calling you! He wants to fill your nets – he wants to bless you beyond your wildest imagination! He wants to take the only thing we can give him – our lives – and change the lives of thousands!
Jesus once told his disciples, what I’ve done is nothing compared to what you will do. Do you believe the words of your savior? Do you believe you could do more than he did? He sent his Spirit so that we can! Ask anything in his name and he will do it!
A fish – the little fish that could – was sufficient to work a miracle with, not just once, but time and again. A smelly, scaley fish enriched the lives of so many people – and how much more has God got planned for you!
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you right now? Call on him to enable you to be a fisherman, ask him to help fill your nets, ask him to enable you to change the world!