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Fishers of Men

Matthew 4:19 (ESV) … And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Since Jesus is the promised Messiah, He had the right to call men from their normal pursuits of life to follow Him. This was not the first time these men had met Jesus, for the Fourth Gospel relates Jesus’ first meeting with some of the disciples (John 1:35–42). Jesus now called these fishermen to leave their profession behind and to begin following Him permanently. He would take them from fishing for fish and make them fishers of men. The message of the coming kingdom needed to be proclaimed widely so that many could hear and could become, by repentance, subjects of His kingdom. The calling carried with it a cost, for it involved leaving not only one’s profession but also one’s family responsibilities. Matthew noted that James and John … left not only their fishing, but also their father to begin following Jesus.[1]

The first pair of men Jesus called to follow him were brothers, Simon and Andrew. Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist, who, when introduced to the “Lamb of God,” turned and followed Jesus (John 1:35–39). Then Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus. When Jesus met Simon he said, “‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter)” (John 1:42 niv). These men understood and believed who Jesus was. Jesus arrived on the shore that day to change their lives forever. Jesus told Simon (Peter) and Andrew to leave their fishing business and to follow him. To “follow” means to accept Jesus as authority, to pursue his calling, to model after his example, to join his group. Jesus was asking these men to become his disciples and to begin fishing for people. “Follow” is the major term for discipleship in the Gospels. Disciples in Jesus’ day literally followed their masters around and imitated them. Jesus required his disciples to give him their allegiance, daily count the cost of commitment, and serve others as he did.[2]

[1] Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 27–28). Victor Books. [2] Barton, B. B. (1996). Matthew (p. 68). Tyndale House Publishers.

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