Enthralled. Captivated. Entranced. Charmed. Fascinated.
The Greek zogreo literally means to be captured alive and carries the same connotation as enthralled. This unique word is only used twice in the New Testament in two very different contexts.
Zogreo first appears in Luke’s gospel account on the shores of Lake Gennesaret. The scene goes something like this:
Two sets of brothers who run in the same tribe have fished all night to no avail. With sore backs and empty boats, they head back to shore empty-handed. Likely they were joking with one another as they began cleaning and mending their nets. Having been raised by the water’s edge, this crew knew a thing or twenty about fishing. As such, they looked askance at one another when when the itinerant teacher who had been coming around of late and had borrowed their boat as a floating teaching podium of sorts, tried to give them some fishing advice.
Acting in character, Simon (who would soon become better known as Peter) was the first to chime in. “Thanks for the advice, preacher boy, but we know these waters better than you. We fished all night. However, because you intrigue me and have a commanding presence, I will do as you say.”
Having nearly finished cleaning up, he set his boat back in the water and reluctantly cast his nets back into the water. The only one not shocked by the result was Christ. The nets were so full they were breaking and sinking under the weight of the miraculous catch. Immediately, Simon recognized that this was no mere coincidence, as he saw that strange glimmer in the teacher’s eyes.
With a smile that more nearly resembled a smirk, Christ spoke to the half-awed, half-terrified Simon words that would change the course of his life.
“Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” Luke 5: 10. ESV
Zogreo. Captured alive, enthralled with the Worthy Master, drawn into His will.
Christ’s mission to capture men alive, to enthrall them with the life and kingdom of God compelled these sea-loving fishing brothers to leave all to enter a bigger story.
Strangely enough, the only other time this strange word is used in the New Testament is in Paul’s second letter to his own disciple Timothy. In this context, Paul shows living souls being enthralled, captured alive by a very different master. Speaking of souls that have been blinded and ensnared, caught-alive, as it were, by the Enemy of God, Paul tells Timothy the following.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26. ESV.
Zogreo. Captured alive, ensnared to do the will of a lesser master, drawn into his will.
The Bible makes it quite clear that every living soul will be captured alive and enthralled by a master. Experience seconds this notion.
The question then becomes, Who or what enthralls me? Who or what has me captured? Is it money? Success? Human approval? Comfort? If it is anything other than the Lord of life, we are caught up in the wrong story under the wrong master.
As believers, we are those who, like Simon and his fishing cronies, have been caught by the life-giving nets of the Good Master. As such, we are ultimately no longer ensnared by the Enemy. Our salvation is eternally secure.
However, our experience of that salvation and our involvement in Christ’s epic task of capturing other souls alive depend on a certain daily re-enthrallment of our hearts with Our Christ.
Having lost his ability to ensnare us eternally, the Enemy goes for a consolation prize. He seeks to keep our eyes charmed by comfort and shiny trinkets. He keeps our hands busy at the nets of self. He whispers lies that cause us to linger by our unused boats rather than set them upon the water to cast our nets into the deep in trust of our Master.
May Christ enthrall us anew today. May His gentle but firm invitation recapture us each morning, “Come, my child, we work to do. There are still others to enthrall!”