Summary: It is very comforting for me to know that He uses simple men like these. They were not super-duper saints and that gives me hope that He may even be able to use a person like me. The important thing is for us to give ourselves to Him.
Harmony of the Gospels
Sea of Galilee
Four Become Fishers of Men
This is the record of Jesus’ call to four of His disciples; Peter, Andrew, James and John.
And Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two bretheren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:18-19)
Jesus had three meetings with these men. He met with them the first time in Jerusalem. See John 1:35-42. He did not call them at that time. This is the record of the second meeting, and this time, He asks them to “follow Him”. They go with Him briefly at this time and then return to fishing. Mark and Luke provide more details of this meeting, than Matthew does. The third time that He calls them, it is to apostleship. That meeting is recorded in Luke 5:1-11. At that time, they leave their nets and follow Him as His apostles.
It is very comforting for me to know that He uses simple men like these. They were not super-duper saints and that gives me hope that He may even be able to use a person like me. The important thing is for us to give ourselves to Him. The body of Christ has many members, and their gifts vary; but all are important to Him.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw two bretheren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. (Matthew 4:20-22)
These are interesting men, and we will learn more about them as we proceed with our study.
(John 1:35-42; GW) "The next day John was standing with two of his disciples. John saw Jesus walk by. John said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God.” When the two disciples heard John say this, they followed Jesus. Jesus turned around and saw them following him. He asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “teacher”), “where are you staying? Jesus told them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went to see where he was staying and spent the rest of that day with him. It was about ten o'clock in the morning. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two disciples who heard John and followed Jesus. Andrew at once found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You are Simon, son of John. Your name will be Cephas” (which means “Peter”).
Now as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were in the ship tending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. (Mark 1:16-20)
This is the beginning of His ministry. He was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There He finds Simon, Andrew, James and John going about their business of fishing. The meeting is no coincidence, because He had met these men before in Jerusalem. I believe that He marked them at that time for His disciples, even though He did not call them. This time though, He called them to discipleship. They dropped everything and followed Him, but as we will learn in Luke 5:1-11, they returned to fishing.
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered in to one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. (Luke 5:1-3)
Lake Gennesaret is just another name given to the Sea of Galilee. The fishermen that were there had left their boats and were busy washing their nets. Jesus asked one of the fishermen, Simon, to push his boat out into the water, so that He could use it as a platform, from which He could preach. What a pulpit! Every pulpit should be used to fish for men by preaching the word of God. But remember you don’t catch fish every time you go fishing; and the disciples didn’t either. Even though you don’t always catch fish, remember that the greatest experience in life is to fish for the souls of men.