When Jesus called the brothers, Peter and Andrew, to follow him, they were fishing. That became their livelihood since they had not been chosen and trained among the elite of their day: scholars, teachers, and rabbis. But as they were fishing, Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” There is an obvious play on words in the English language, but I have always wondered if there was something more to it than that.
A few years ago, I wrote an article in which I shared some insights about the incredible depth of meaning and intentionality with which Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (link) A Hebrew scholar and teacher who now writes under the pen name, Chaim Bentorah, sent an email in response to that article that greatly encouraged me. His words compelled me to continue to dig deeper into the Hebrew roots of the Scriptures and the sayings of Christ.
Chaim Bentorah has released multiple books and an email newsletter (link) in which he teaches the ideas, pictures, and concepts conveyed by Hebrew words and phrases. I recently read an article of his that sparked my interest on the subject of being fishers of men.
The word for fishermen in Hebrew is spelled with the letters Daleth, Vav, Gimmel. As Chaim Bentorah explains:
“This would represent a gateway (Daleth) for man to enter (Vav) God’s lovingkindness (Gimmel). When Jesus told his disciples he would make them fishers of men, He was not just making a cute comparison to their trade, He was speaking like a rabbi offering a much deeper meaning through an esoteric understanding of the word fishermen: “Follow me and I will make you a doorway for others to find the lovingkindness of God.”
It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks on multiple levels in one statement. It is the very nature of the prophetic word, the word of life. When God speaks, he not only creates but he speaks in creative ways on multiple levels with ongoing impact.
What About You?
Long before Jesus spoke these words, Jeremiah prophesied, “Behold, I will send many fishermen says the Lord…” (Jeremiah 16:16)
Jesus is sending you. He has called you to be a fisherman… to be a doorway for others to find the lovingkindness of God. You are a doorway of heaven for others, a gateway into the lovingkindness of God.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.