Matthew 4:19 - Jesus Wants Us To Be Fishers of Men.
Mat.4:19: Jesus Wants Us To Be Fishers of Men.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Matthew 4:19 (KJV) And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I
will make you fishers of men.
Matthew 4:19 (TLB) Jesus called out, "Come along with me and I
will show you how to fish for the souls of men!"
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
John predicted Messiah's appearance, and preached baptism as a
sign of repentance (3:1-12). Christ was baptized to identify Himself
with John's righteous message (vv. 13-17). The Spirit then led Jesus
into the wilderness, where He overcame temptation and demonstrated
His commitment to God (4:1-11). Thus prepared, Jesus began to preach
(vv. 12-17), called His first disciples (vv. 18-22), and demonstrated
His God-given authority by miracles of healing (vv. 23-25). [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
4:12-25 This passage introduces the beginning of Jesus' public
ministry in Galilee. The Galilean ministry is seen as a fulfillment of
Isa 9:1, 2. It is a ministry characterized by preaching, teaching,
and healing. A summary of this ministry (vv. 23-25) is described by
Matthew in subsequent chapters as the proclamation of the new era both
by words and deeds (chs. 5-8) of Jesus. The ministry is life-giving
(vv. 13-16), preparatory (v. 17), personal (vv. 18-22), instructive
(v. 23), and successful (vv. 24, 25). [Believer's SB]
4:17-25 The Community Is Called
Jesus' message was precisely the same as John the Baptist's
(4:17; cf. 3:2). Jesus started where John left off, but he would soon
go far beyond all that John had said and done (cf., for example,
4:23-25; 5:1-7:29). The call of the first disciples in 4:18-22
chronologically follows the events of John 1:35-51. This was not the first
contact that these men had had with Jesus. They had heard John the
Baptist identify him as the Lamb of God and had traveled with Jesus to
Cana where they had seen his first miracle (John 2:1-11). But now at
Jesus' invitation, they left their fishing to become fishers of men by
proclaiming the gospel. The gospel was the "good news" of forgiveness for
those who would repent and align themselves with the righteous remnant
(cf. Isa. 1:19-20; 25:6-9; 51:1-8; Mal. 4:1-2).
Jesus was teaching in the synagogues (Matt. 4:23; cf. Luke
4:16-22), announcing the kingdom (cf. Matt. 4:17), and authenticating his
message by miracles (12:28; cf. John 20:30-31). The stress on healing
was leading up to the Matthew 8:17 quote of Isaiah 53:4. Healing was
a picture or outward sign of a greater restoration based on the
forgiveness of sins (Matt. 9:6). Many interesting things happened during
this part of Jesus' ministry, but Matthew rushed through the events
to give the reader a sense of the general impact and growing
ministry of Jesus.
"Decapolis" (4:25) was a Gentile district east of the Jordan
River known for its splendid Greek cities. This section (4:17-25) gave
a quick summary of Jesus' teaching, preaching, and healing
ministries as a contextual background for Jesus' well-known Sermon on the
Mount in the following chapters (Matt. 5-7). [New Bible Companion]
4:18-22 Four of the local fishermen are called by Jesus and
join him to spread the good news: Peter (Simon, whose nickname, Rock,
in Greek is Petros, and in Hebrew, Cephas; 1 Cor 1:12); Andrew
(Peter's brother, and originally a follower of John the Baptist, Jn
1:35-41); the sons of Zebedee, James, and John, who are prominent in the
lists of the twelve followers (Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts
1:13). [Cambridge Annotated SB]
4:18 The Sea of Galilee is really a large lake. About 30 fishing
towns surrounded it during Jesus' day, and Capernaum was the largest.
[Life Application SB]
The First Disciples
Calling of the First Disciples--Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
Jesus Chooses Some Followers
Jesus Calls the First Disciples (4:18-22)
The first four disciples are called (4:18-22)
Four fishermen follow Jesus (4:18-22)
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Matthew 8:22 (KJV) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let
the dead bury their dead.
Matthew 9:9 (KJV) And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw
a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he
saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
Matthew 16:24 (KJV) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any
man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow me.
Matthew 19:21 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be
perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt
have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Luke 9:59 (KJV) And he said unto another, Follow me. But he
said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
John 1:43 (KJV) The day following Jesus would go forth into
Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
John 12:26 (KJV) If any man serve me, let him follow me; and
where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him
will my Father honour.
John 21:22 (KJV) Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry
till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
1 Cor. 9:22 (KJV) To the weak became I as weak, that I might
gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all
means save some.
2 Cor. 12:16 (KJV) But be it so, I did not burden you:
nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
Fishers Of Men. Evangelism was at the heart of Jesus' call to
his disciples. [NIV SB]
Christ's call to follow Him in discipleship is a call to
evangelize other people. The call has only one proper response--immediate
obedience. Discipleship always involves the call to witness. [Disciple SB]
Jesus told Peter and Andrew to leave their fishing business and
become "fishers of men," to help others find God. Jesus was calling
them away from their productive trades to be productive spiritually.
We all need to fish for souls. If we practice Christ's teachings
and share the gospel with others, we will be able to draw those
around us to Christ like a fisherman who pulls fish into his boat with
nets. [Life Application SB]
James and his brother, John, along with Peter and Andrew, were
the first disciples that Jesus called to work with him. Jesus' call
motivated these men to get up and leave their jobs--immediately. They
didn't make excuses about why it wasn't a good time. They left at once
and followed. Jesus calls each of us to follow him. When Jesus asks
us to serve him, we must be like the disciples and do it at once.
[Life Application SB]
These men already knew Jesus. He had talked to Peter and Andrew
previously (John 1:35-42) and had been preaching in the area. When Jesus
called them, they knew what kind of man he was and were willing to
follow him. They were not in a hypnotic trance when they followed but
had been thoroughly convinced that following him would change their
lives forever. [Life Application SB]
The Lord had been teaching the people in the area, and had just
performed a miracle in the viewing of the disciples. At that time, because
they believed Jesus, they responded immediately to the command He
gave to leave everything and follow Him. A decision was made, action
taken and lives changed. Things today are no different. Have you
heard Jesus calling you to complete commitment and total surrender?
Those who have followed Him are witnesses of the miracle of a changed
life. Are you willing to leave everything to follow Him? If you are,
your life has really changed since you accepted Him into your heart.
That changed life will enable you to stand before Him and give an
account of it someday. If that is not the case, you can take care of it
today. [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom re Luk.5:11]
Called by God
"I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and
who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me' " (Isaiah
God did not direct His call to Isaiah--Isaiah overheard God
saying, "who will go for Us?" The call of God is not just for a select
few but for everyone. Whether I hear God's call or not depends on
the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my
spiritual attitude. "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).
That is, few prove that they are the chosen ones. The chosen ones are
those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ
and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears
opened. Then they hear "the voice of the Lord" continually asking, "who
will go for Us?" However, God doesn't single out someone and say,
"Now, you go." He did not force His will on Isaiah. Isaiah was in the
presence of God, and he overheard the call. His response, performed in
complete freedom, could only be to say, "Here am I! Send me."
Remove the thought from your mind of expecting God to come to
force you or to plead with you. When our Lord called His disciples, He
did it without irresistible pressure from the outside. The quiet,
yet passionate, insistence of His "Follow Me" was spoken to men
whose every sense was receptive (Matthew 4:19). If we will allow the
Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what
Isaiah heard--"the voice of the Lord." In perfect freedom we too will
say, "Here am I! Send me." [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald
Come, Follow Me
Today, in principle, the call of the Lord Jesus has not changed.
He still says 'Follow me', and adds, 'whoever of you does not
renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple'. In practice, however,
this does not mean for the majority of Christians a physical
departure from their home or their job. It implies rather an inner
surrender of both, and a refusal to allow either family or ambition to
occupy the first place in our lives.
First, there must be a renunciation of sin. This, in a word, is
repentance. It is the first part of Christian conversion. It can in no
circumstances be bypassed. Repentance and faith belong together. We cannot
follow Christ without forsaking sin.....
Second, there must be a renunciation of self. In order to
follow Christ we must not only forsake isolated sins, but renounce the
very principle of self-will which lies at the root of every act of
sin. To follow Christ is to surrender to him the rights over our own
lives. It is to abdicate the throne of our heart and do homage to him
as our King....
The full, inexorable demand of Jesus Christ is now laid bard.
He does not call us to a sloppy half-heartedness, but to a
vigorous, absolute commitment. He calls us to make him our Lord. [John
Stott; Time with God devotional SB]
The Life of Power to Follow
"Jesus answered him, 'Where I am going you cannot follow Me now,
but you shall follow Me afterward' " (John 13:36).
"And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me' "
(John 21:19). Three years earlier Jesus had said, "Follow Me" (Matthew
4:19), and Peter followed with no hesitation. The irresistible
attraction of Jesus was upon him and he did not need the Holy Spirit to
help him do it. Later he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and
his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit and Jesus said
again, "Follow Me" (John 21:19). Now no one is in front of Peter except
the Lord Jesus Christ. The first "Follow Me" was nothing mysterious;
it was an external following. Jesus is now asking for an internal
sacrifice and yielding (see 21:18).
Between these two times Peter denied Jesus with oaths and curses
(see Matthew 26:69-75). But then he came completely to the end of
himself and all of his self-sufficiency. There was no part of himself he
would ever rely on again. In his state of destitution, he was finally
ready to receive all that the risen Lord had for him. "He breathed on
them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit' " (John 20:22). No
matter what changes God has performed in you, never rely on them. Build
only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.
All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have
no power to accomplish them. When we come to the end of ourselves,
not just mentally but completely, we are able to "receive the Holy
Spirit." "Receive the Holy Spirit"--the idea is that of invasion. There is
now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus
Christ. [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers]
Jesus says for us to be fishers of men and that we are to go and
catch people for Him, but you too often want to clean them first.
Jesus said catch them and let His Spirit do the cleaning. Ron