A Tale of Two Fisherman - A Modern Parable

A Modern Parable about Fishermen & Fish

This post presents a modern parable in the style of those used by Jesus and recorded in the gospels. It presents Biblical truth in allegorical story form. The parable compares the motives and methods of two fisherman along with the outcomes for the fish they catch. The spiritual meaning is then explained, contrasting the motives of God and Satan, and the response of the fish.

The Fishermen Parable Story

Two fishermen went out to fish.

A kind old man gently placed his hand into a small, polluted pond in front of a struggling little fish. When the fish entered his hand, he scooped the small fish out and immediately placed it into large bucket of fresh water. He took the rescued fish to a large, clean lake on his property, and put the fish into his lake where it could live, thrive, and grow.

A hungry man went to a large lake full of healthy fish. He baited a barbed hook with a large worm and cast it into the water to entice fish to bite the hook. When a large fish saw the wriggling worm, it thought it had found a luscious meal. The fish hesitated only a second, then opening its mouth wide, it engulfed its lunch. The fisherman quickly set the hook, reeled in the fish, dragged it on shore, and clubbed it on the head to keep it from escaping. This fisherman then took his catch home and fried it for dinner.

The Fishermen Parable Explained

Hear now the parable of the Fishermen

The kind, old man is God the Father, “the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9,13,22). His hand is the Lord Jesus Christ whom He sent into our corrupt world as a man “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The struggling little fish is a lost soul who placed his trust in the mercy of God.

The bucket of fresh water represents the Holy Spirit in whom believers are immersed when they trust in Jesus Christ to save them (Mark 1:8; John 1:33). The large, clean lake is God’s kingdom in heaven where His children live forever after they pass on from this sin cursed world.

Jesus entered our sin cursed world “to seek and save that which was lost” (i.e.: us)

Luke 19:10

The hungry man is the devil, who prowls around “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan uses deceit to entrap his prey by enticing them to indulge their fleshly desires. His methods are cruel, and he often uses his captives to lure others into his trap.

The large fish is a lost soul who loves the world and is easily enticed to take hold of things in this world that appear desirable and appeal to the lust of the flesh (1 John 2:15-16). The frying pan represents the fires of hell. Those who fall victim to the devil’s snare will experience eternal death in hell.

The Identity of the Fisherman

The motives and methods of the two fishermen are completely opposite. The fishermen represent our loving God and Satan (our enemy). There is a spiritual war being waged between them. They battle over the souls of people.

Who is God?

The kind, old man in the parable represents God.

God is the one and only, all-powerful, eternal being. God is spirit (John 4:24), light (John 8:12; 1 John 1:5), and truth (John 14:6; 17:17). God speaks only truth; He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God is unchanging (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8) and cannot be tempted (James 1:13).

In the beginning, God created everything, including the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them (Exodus 20:11a). God created people in His own image (Genesis1:27). God also created the angels.

Who is Satan?

The hungry man represents Satan.

Satan is a created being. Originally, he was Lucifer, a beautiful, holy angel created by God with an exalted position in heaven. Being a covering cherub in the throne room of Heaven was not enough for him though. Lucifer wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:13-15). He wanted more power and he wanted to be worshipped.

Lucifer became the devil when he became evil. His lust for power and worship led him to rebel against his Creator, seeking to usurp God’s throne. A third of the angels became demons (Revelation 12:4) as they followed Satan (the adversary) in his rebellion against God.

The Motives of the Fishermen

God loves the people He created in His image and wants to have fellowship with us (1 John 1:3). Sin breaks that fellowship because God is holy and cannot fellowship with sin. Still, God loves people and wants our fellowship with Him restored (1 John 1:6-7).

God wants people to have eternal life and enter His kingdom of heaven. God does not want anyone to perish, but instead desires all to repent (2 Peter 3:9), “be saved, and come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

God loves people so much that He sent His Son (Jesus Christ) into the world as a man to pay the penalty for our sin, so we could be saved from the consequence of sin, which is eternal death in hell (John 3:16). Jesus entered our sin cursed world “to seek and save that which was lost,” i.e.: us (Luke 19:10).

Satan has no true power over his Creator. Instead, he attempts to thwart God’s will and rob Him of the worship and glory He deserves. Satan vainly hopes to defeat God by causing Him to deny Himself in some way or by causing one of His prophesies to fail. While God was on the earth as a man, Satan tried to tempt Jesus to worship him and disobey the Father’s will.

The Methods of the Fishermen

God’s Methods

God always speaks truth; He never lies.

God has communicated His will and the way of wisdom through His Word, the Bible. But God gives people the freedom to choose how they live their lives and whether they will obey Him. He has, however, warned that there are consequences for sin and foolishness. People will reap what they sow (Galatians 6:7).

Despite our sin, God is loving, kind and gracious. Everything good we have comes from God (James 1:17). He seeks the welfare of the people He created in His image. He sacrificially gave His Son (Jesus) to pay the penalty for sin and provide the way of reconciliation through repentance from sin, and faith in Christ (John 3:16).

Satan’s Methods

Satan is a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44). His most powerful weapon and tool is deceit. He can still make himself appear beautiful and his lies seem reasonable and attractive. He may present himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), but inside he is still full of envy, hate, and darkness.

Satan is a malicious, master manipulator. He is selfish, mean, and cruel. He cares nothing about any person, angel, or creature, except for how he may use them to advance his agenda in seeking his own glory and battling against God.

The devil seeks to build his kingdom by tearing down that which belongs to God. Satan cannot attack God directly. Instead, he attacks those created in God’s image. Satan delights in striking against God by inflicting pain and death on those God loves, especially God’s people.

The devil has been a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44) and was instrumental in the fall of man. He used a snake to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden (2 Corinthians 11:3) to precipitate Adam’s fall (Genesis 3:1-6), resulting in our spiritual death and the curse upon the earth (Genesis 3:17-19).

The Fishermen Parable Applied

While this modern parable focuses primarily on the motives and methods of the fishermen, the application is largely about the fish.

Just as there is more to the world than a fish’s lake, stream or sea, there is more to the realm we live in than just the natural world we see.

The Fish Represent People

When Adam fell, his sin brought God’s curse upon the earth (Genesis 3:17-19). As a result, we are born spiritually dead, cut off from eternal life in God. We live in a corrupt world, full of toil and trouble, sin and death (Romans 8:22). Whether we realize it or not, we all need a savior who will rescue us from our sin, give us spiritual life, and translate us from temporary existence in this wicked world to the eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Just as there is more to the world than a fish’s lake, stream or sea, there is more to the realm we live in than just the natural world we see. Most people are unaware of the spiritual realm and forces that surround them (Ephesians 6:10). Most people are ignorant that Satan, the adversary of both God and mankind, is actively seeking people he may devour and destroy (1 Peter 5:8).

Like fish, people are easily deceived and enticed to accept harmful things that appear attractive. As James 1:14-15 declares, we are tempted and carried away by things that entice us, arousing strong desire and lust. When we give-in to our cravings, they produce sin, which results in death.

James 1:14 KJV - Every man is tempted when drawn away by his own lust

Our Response to the Fisherman

Because of our sin nature, people are naturally tempted by the lusts of the flesh (things that feel good to our bodies), lusts of the eyes (things that appear attractive and desirable), and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Satan uses our sinful tendencies against us as he seeks to entice us into being foolish and sinning against God.

If we want to enter God’s Kingdom in Heaven, we must believe what the Bible says about our sin and our need for a savior. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-4; 14) and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. And we must receive Jesus by faith to become the children of God (John 1:12) and receive eternal life.

As Christians, we must be on guard against temptations to sin. We must live wisely, walk in the Spirit, and put on the whole armor of God so we may stand in the day of temptation (Ephesians 6:11-17). When Satan tested Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus responded to the devil’s tempts by quoting God’s Word. We need to read and study the Bible so we too can see through the devil’s deceptions and avoid his traps.

We must believe that God wants what is best for us and entrust the keeping of our souls to the Heavenly Father who loves us, “as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). We must follow the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, rather than caving-in to the carnal desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:16). We must trust in the wisdom of God’s Word rather than leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), knowing that God’s way is always best.

Fishers of Men

Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to leave being fishermen to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). But the call to be “fishers of men” is not limited to Christ’s apostles. God “desires all people to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

God uses Christians to draw lost people out from world and attract them to His Kingdom. God wants His children to bring others to Him through prayer, living godly lives, and sharing their testimony of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Have you answered God’s call to join Christ’s disciples as “fishers of men”?

If not, why not? Make today the day!

Commit Now to being a “Fisher of Men”!


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