“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men .” 1 Corinthians 1:25 (KJV)
The apostle Paul pens down a rather profound and revelatory epistle about the “Christ of the Church” to the believers in Colosse. To be sure, in this epistle, he describes the Lord Jesus Christ as the embodiment of the wisdom and knowledge of God like he did in no other epistle he wrote (Colossians 2:3).
Colossians 2:3 (KJV)
“in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
In the same vein, God’s wisdom can be seen demonstrated, though not explicitly, in the seemingly innocuous account of Jesus choosing His first four apostles when He walked along the sea of Galilee during His earthly ministry. But it is incomprehensible to the carnal, natural, and undiscerning mind why Jesus chose ordinary, unlearned, and everyday men such as fishermen as His disciples rather than going to the palace or any other fanciful place or to the top echelons of His day. This is because He wanted to demonstrate His wisdom and what He could do with seemingly ignorant and ignoble men. As He walked along the sea of Galilee, He first called Simon and Andrew, his brother, who were ‘casting their nets’, and then James and John, who were ‘mending their nets’ (1 Corinthians 1:26; Matthew 4:18-22).
1 Corinthians 1:26 (KJV)
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called”
Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV)
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”
In the aforementioned Scriptures, we can see the depth of God’s wisdom at work in the choosing of the first four apostles, who were mainly fishermen. The first two were ‘casting their nets’, while the other two were ‘mending their nets’. These accounts are indeed profound because they are a prophetic picture of the two major activities of the apostolic ministry. Those ‘casting their nets’ are a picture of the apostles “proclaiming the gospel to those who need to hear it.” The word ”apostle” has its roots in the Greek word ”apostolos“, which means ”sent out one” or “messenger“.
It is crucial to note that the fisherman, by nature and attitude, isn’t really bothered by circumstances, discouragement, or prevailing weather conditions; all he has is a vision to catch fish.
Those ‘mending their nets’ are a picture of the ‘apostolic ministry setting things in order in the Church’. It is crucial to note that ‘mending the nets’ does not merely mean ‘repairing a tear’ but it also means ‘restoring, fixing, equipping, perfecting, completing and framing together (Ephesians 4:13; Ephesians 2:20-21).
Ephesians 4:12 (KJV)
..for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Ephesians 2:20-21 (KJV)
..and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
This is so that the fishes caught will stay within the nets and not swim out again. This second part is really crucial because a lot of the evangelistic endeavours in the contemporary Church won’t amount to much because when the Church is not in good order, the fish won’t stay and abide but they will swim out again. Hence, the apostolic ministry by calling has to set things in proper order in the Church (Titus 1:5; 1 Corinthians 14:37-40).
Titus 1:5 (KJV)
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee”
1 Corinthians 14:37-40 (KJV)
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.”
It is pertinent to point out that the apostolic office involves building just like the work of an architect or as Paul describes himself as “a wise master builder”, hence God pours out His grace in an unusual way in the areas of ‘ wisdom and revelation’ because of the job description (1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 1:11-12).
1 Corinthians 3:10 (KJV)
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”
Galatians 1:11-12 (KJV)
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Hence, by ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation’, he does not only bring the fishes in, but he also sets in order the things that are lacking in different areas especially in the area of doctrine. This is so that a lot of fish caught don’t swim back out because the believers have not restored their relationships and worked on their attitudes towards one another. More especially in not rightly relating to one another in the everyday life of the Church in the areas of interpersonal relationships, the administration of spiritual gifts, Church administration, and brotherly love towards one another.
The second job description of the apostolic ministry in ‘mending and setting things in order’ is so crucial because when fish come in, God’s will is for them to abide and stay steadfast till the end (John 15:16).
John 15:16 (KJV)
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
This is so that they don’t come in to see the Church in chaos and utter disarray, and say that, “If this is what Christianity is, I don’t want to be a part of it”. It is crucial at this juncture to ask yourself in the place of prayer and in the light of God’s countenance whether you’ve been a light and source of encouragement to your fellow believers, or you’ve been a source of discouragement and a stumbling block.
May the Holy Spirit give you and me a deeper understanding of this simple but all important discourse in Jesus’ name.