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by Wayne Blank
The photo shows 2 tilapia, also popularly known as "St. Peter's fish," taken from the Sea of Galilee. Along with them are 5 loaves of bread - similar to what Jesus Christ used to miraculously feed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:15-21). He later fed 4,000 from "a few small fish" and seven loaves of bread (Matthew 15:32-38) (see also The Miracles Of Jesus Christ)
Fishing became a major industry for Israel. Jerusalem apparently had a fish market from the time of the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 33:14, Nehemiah 3:3), with the Fish Gate the likely entrance to it.
It was from the ranks of fishermen that Jesus Christ called His first Apostles (Mark 1:16-20), including Peter and John. Fish and fishing were often associated with His ministry, and later were actually used as a symbol of it.
One of The Lord's most direct encouragements to those who accept and obey Him, and dire warnings to those who choose to reject His offer of eternal life, used fishing as an analogy:
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth" (Matthew 13:47-50 RSV)
Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ say that His disciples would become "fishers of men"?