Jesus is a fisher of men: he is not a saviour of men.
Most Christians do not know that Jesus has a logical and well-integrated doctrine. This doctrine is enshrined in his teachings, and it completely confounds the Christology of Paul.
In everything, Jesus creates dichotomies. On one side there is God and the sons of God. On the other side there is Satan and MEN. The sons of God are “from heaven” and belong to the kingdom of God. MEN, on the other hand, are “from the earth” and belong to the kingdoms of this world.
Jesus presents this dichotomy succinctly when he asked the chief priests: “The baptism of John- where was it from? From heaven or from MEN?” (Matthew 21:25). The implication here is that if it is from heaven, it cannot be of MEN.
When Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross, Jesus rebuked him. He said to him: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of MEN.” (Matthew 16:23). This means, according to Jesus, the things of MEN are the things of Satan.
Indeed, Jesus says the things of MEN are diametrically opposite to the things of God. He pointed this out to the Pharisees, saying: “What is highly esteemed among MEN is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15).
Men are evil
Jesus’ doctrine has no place for the Pauline doctrine of “original sin,” whereby all men are said to inherit the sins of Adam. Nevertheless, Jesus classifies MEN as “bad trees.” He says: “A bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17). MEN are evil. Jesus says: “Out of the heart of MEN, proceed evil thoughts.” (Mark 7:21). MEN are tares or bad seeds. Jesus says: “The tares are the sons of the wicked one.” (Matthew 13:38).
Jesus insists his disciples must reject everything pertaining to MEN. This includes earthly fatherhood. As a result, he says to all those who would like to be sons of God: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9). In Jesus’ doctrine, all earthly fathers are evil. Therefore, he says to the sons of MEN: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
God is good
On the other hand, Jesus says: “No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17). Unlike Paul, who says “there is none righteous” (Romans 3:10); Jesus includes sons of God in the one good God. In his petition to God concerning his disciples, Jesus asks: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us.” (John 17:21).
Thereby, Jesus differentiates sons of God from MEN. Sons of God are “good trees.” Jesus says: “Every good tree bears good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17). Sons of God are “good men.” Jesus says: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things.” (Matthew 12:35). Sons of God are good seeds. Jesus says: “The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom.” (Matthew 13:38).
Beware of men
Given this dichotomy, Jesus warns his disciples: “Beware of MEN.” (Matthew 10:17). He says: “Blessed are you when MEN hate you.” (Luke 6:22). Believers must not justify ourselves before MEN. (Luke 16:15). Once we seek public recognition, even for charitable acts, we lose God’s approval. Jesus warns: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before MEN, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1).
We should not accept compliments or awards from MEN. Jesus himself rejected the praise and honour of MEN. He says: “I do not receive honor from MEN.” (John 5:41). Thus, Jesus gives a warning to his disciples that mega-pastors have chosen to ignore: “Woe to you when all MEN speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26). He says furthermore: “All MEN will hate you because of me.” (Matthew 10:22).
This shows Jesus does not regard his disciples as MEN. This is also evident in the following discourse where Jesus draws a sharp distinction between his disciples and MEN: “Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, ‘Who do MEN say that I am?’ So they answered, ‘John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’ Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.” (Mark 8:27-30).
We become sons of God by choice and not by Pauline predestination. (Romans 8:29-30). Sons of God are those who choose to do the will of God. Jesus points this out in this discourse with the Jews: “Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” (Matthew 12:47-50).
This means all Christians cannot be presumed to be sons of God, for the simple reason that most of us do not do the will of the Father. Indeed, many of us do not even know what the will of the Father entails.
Sons of God
Sons of God are “the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13). But Jesus warns that our salt will be thrown out and trampled underfoot by MEN. Sons of God are “sons of light.” (Luke 16:8). Jesus calls us: “the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14). MEN, on the other hand, are lovers of darkness. (John 3:19). Jesus calls them “the sons of this world.” (Luke 16:8). Jesus says to his disciples: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19).
In light of all this, it is ignorance of the doctrine of Jesus that makes Paul say God is “the Saviour of ALL MEN.” (1 Timothy 4:10). MEN are not included among Jesus’ sheep. (John 10:26-28). Jesus says to MEN: “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47).
With MEN, salvation is impossible. But with God and his sons, all things are possible. (Mark 10:27).
God as fisherman
Jesus is a fisher of MEN: he is not a Saviour of MEN. He says to his disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of MEN.” (Matthew 4:19). The distinction between a fisher of MEN and a Saviour of MEN is important. However, this distinction is not understood by most Christians who presume erroneously that a fisher of men is a saviour of men.
We know who fishermen are. They are fishers, not of MEN, but of fish. But now Jesus talks of fishers, not of fish, but of MEN. So to start with, we need to determine what it means to fish MEN. How does a man fish other MEN? What does he do with the MEN he “catches?”
Once we look to the bible for answers to these questions, we are in for a rude awakening. In quick order, we discover to our surprise that when God fished MEN in the scriptures, it was never for salvation: “Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the LORD, “and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them.” (Jeremiah 16:16). Amos echoes this: “Behold, the days shall come upon you when He (God) will take you away with fishhooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.” (Amos 4:2).
The net was a weapon of warfare which gladiators used to hamstring their opponents in combat. Therefore, to be a fisher of MEN scripturally is to be an instrument of God’s judgment. God says of disobedient Ephraimites: “Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them according to what their congregation has heard.” (Hosea 7:12). Solomon echoes him: “Like fish taken in a cruel net, so the sons of MEN are snared in an evil time.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12).
Once caught, fishes end up in the frying-pan and eventually in someone’s dinner-table. The same applies to MEN with regard to the gospel. As fishes are taken unexpectedly in a net, so sinners are taken by the gospel. The prophetic design in preaching the gospel is that it will lead far more people to condemnation than to salvation.
Trap of the gospel
Hear and understand: God has designed the gospel in such a way that sons of God will receive it but MEN will reject it. Jesus tells his disciples: “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:11). Isaiah says: “The word of the LORD was to them, ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,’ that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught.” (Isaiah 28:13).
The same person who sends us to preach the gospel also tells us beforehand that MEN will not accept it. God said to Isaiah: “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” (Isaiah 6:9). This scripture is repeated more times in the bible than any other scripture. John says: “They could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: ‘He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn- and I would heal them.’” (John 12:39-40).
Accordingly Jesus, the word of God, is a double-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12). Simeon, the prophet, prophesied that Jesus would cause people to fall before causing them to rise: “Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” (Luke 2:34-35).
Couched in this manner, the greatest trap of all will not be the devil. It will be Jesus, because many Christians will stumble as a result of failure to understand and receive him. Isaiah says: “He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken.” (Isaiah 8:14-15).
Christians are mistaken in failing to recognise that it is the false gospel that fills the churches while the true gospel empties the churches. (John 6:60-66). The true gospel is preached as a testimony against MEN. Thus, Jesus says to his disciples: “Whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Mark 6:11).
Christians need to appreciate it is worse to hear the word of Jesus and reject it than not to have heard. Jesus says: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22).
Through the gospel of the kingdom of God, ALL MEN are fished to condemnation; but SONS OF GOD are saved. The word of Jesus that MEN reject is precisely what will judge them on the last day. Jesus warns: “He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:48-49).
It is therefore imperative that Christians should magnify the words of Jesus in our lives, and reject the word of strangers like Paul and others. Only Jesus has this testimony from God, the Father: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (Luke 9:35).