Mark 1:16-20 Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-11 JESUS CALLING FIRST DISCIPLES/THE FOUR FISHERMAN
Location: Sea of Galilee There were about 30 fishing towns around the Sea and the largest was Capernaum (where Jesus was now living).
See John 1:35-42 for more on the Peter and Andrew following Jesus and Peter's name change.
Simon (called Peter) and his brother Andrew follow Jesus without hesitation. "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The brothers were fishing for fish and Jesus gives them an analogy of fishing for men. To fish for men means to tell them about Jesus so they also will follow Jesus. In John 1:35-42, we see that Simon and Andrew had already met Jesus after John the Baptist introduced them. In Matthew, we learn that Jesus called Simon "Peter." Why? In John we read about the "rock" which means Peter.
Further down beside the Sea, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John, without hesitation, left their boat in the middle of the water, their father in the boat, and the hired men, to follow Jesus.
Jesus called the four men, they obeyed immediately, and left everything they owned and everyone. I cannot imagine leaving everything I own as I sit here and look around my house. It really makes all these possession that I have seem valueless. They also left everyone they knew and loved to follow Jesus, which also makes these relationships fit into a different perspective of value. These thoughts help me to value Jesus over everything else. We do read later in scripture that the disciples return home from time to time to visit, so it would seem more like a comparison to one that is in the military who comes home occasionally and entrusts what they own and even their children to others while they go out to do work.
Surely there were other fisherman working at the Sea of Galilee, but Jesus walked along the shore and hand-picked these four men and called them for a task. Jesus chose them; they did not come running to Jesus saying "pick me." They were willing to drop everything and go immediately. If I feel Jesus calling me for a task or a ministry, I should be willing to drop other things taking up my time to do what Jesus wants me to do. How much more should I be ready to drop everything and "go?" These four were not the only ones called while already at work. Moses, David, Gideon, Matthew, and Paul, and others were too. God’s call usually comes while we are busy.
Luke's version is much different. At first it reads as a different story until the ending verses of 10 and 11. Then perspective takes place in that verses 1 through 11 describe the details before Jesus tells them "come follow me." Luke gives a location of the lake of Gennesaret. The Sea of Galilee is also known as also "Kinneret"[Hebrew], "Lake of Gennesaret" [Greek], or "Lake Tiberias" [Roman, Arabic]. Some commentaries indicate Mark and Matthew's stories are the first time the four men were called and Luke's story was the second. If the four men immediately left everything and followed Jesus, why would they ever go back to fishing? That would take meaning away from the powerful message of them leaving everything, including possession, family, and friends to follow Jesus. What makes it seem that there are two different stories is that Luke does not mention Andrew.
A crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear the Word. Simon [and Andrew] had their boats docked, having finished fishing, and were washing their nets. [Luke does not mention Andrew other than that Jesus saw two boats by the lake.] Jesus got into Simon's boat asked to be put out from the land into the water where he sat down and taught people. So there were many fisherman at the water's edge.
When Jesus was done talking, He told Simon to take the boat to the deep water and put down the net. Simon was baffled as to why Jesus wanted him to do so because as he declared, they had worked all night without any catch. Simon obeyed Jesus [believing in Him] and the nets caught so many fish the nets began to break. They [note plural] signaled their [note plural] partners in the other boat to come help them. They came and filled both boats until they began to sink. Simon fell down at Jesus's feet and said "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Luke mentions that James and John were partners with Simon, although in the other Gospels indicate they were "further down the lake." I note in Luke's version he is called "Simon" and "Simon Peter."
The crowd was pressing into Jesus so anxious to hear Him speak. I have God's Word right here all the time, even especially now with mobile smart phones. Am I as anxious to hear the Word?
Simon Peter recognized his own sin and then followed Jesus. I should do the same.
Luke's version words it a little different. "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." To "catch" like fish is to catch something alive. All is lost in catching someone once they have passed away. Dead fish are spoiled and useless.
I am a planner. I like a plan and a schedule. I don't like to be redirected from my plans, inconvenienced, or surprised. I feel as if I am in a pinball machine! I like to be in control of my time. My contingency plans have contingency plans. I need to be willing to stop, to be inconvenienced, to be teachable and usable when the Holy Spirit calls me for his purposes. How many times have I been disobedient because it didn't fit with my plan for the day? Lord, please help me to realize that the hours in my day are not mine but yours. As your follower, I want to give You control of my days.