Matthew 4:21
Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them,
Forsaking All and FollowingG. Venables.Matthew 4:21
Jesus Calls All to Follow HimJ. R. Taft, M. A.Matthew 4:21
The Character of St. JamesPreb. Griffith, M. A.Matthew 4:21
Call of the FishermenMarcus Dods Matthew 4:12-22
Fishers of MenW.F. Adeney Matthew 4:18-22
The Call of Christ to His First DisciplesP.C. Barker Matthew 4:18-22
The Ministerial VocationJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 4:18-22
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. From John 1. we learn that these men were previously called to discipleship. It was well that they should have a time of fellowship with Christ before they were further called to the service of Christ. Observe how the full idea of the Messiahship was gradually unfolded, stage by stage. Our Lord never hurried. He set a noble example of "doing the next thing;" and all the Divine plan for him gradually but surely unfolded. These men were fishers. Our Lord used a figure which was quite familiar to them, and would be very suggestive. These thoughts would surely have come to their minds. As the fish have to be gathered, to be skilfully gathered, and to be persistently gathered, so have men. Christ wants us to fish for men as, during these long years, we have fished in this lake for fish. Here will come in careful descriptions of the boats, nets, and methods of the fishermen of Galilee.

I. MEN HAVE TO BE GATHERED. Morally, and in view of their independence and self-willedness, men are like the fishes that roam free in the water, going this way or that at their own pleasure. But this freedom is moral peril. There are foes for men in their freedom, as there are for the fishes. Gather the fish and deliver them from their foes. Gather the men into the allegiance of Christ, and so deliver them from evil.

II. MEN HAVE TO BE SKILFULLY GATHERED. Few occupations involve more skill than fishing. The fisherman must judge the weather, decide on his net or line, adapt his bait, and know the habits of the creatures. So the Apostle Paul, as the great gospel fisherman, would make himself" all things to all men." Illustrate by the conversions recorded in the New Testament, pointing out how different were the methods used in each case in order to effect the ingathering.

III. MEN HAVE TO BE PERSISTENTLY GATHERED. Because there is a natural resistance which is too often successful, and must be dealt with again and again. Show where the fisher-figure fails. They who fish for men gather them in order that they may be everlastingly saved. - R.T.

He called them.
When engaged in their ordinary occupations. By His Word — Providence — Spirit.


1. Who calls? Jesus, the Saviour. His right to do so. His love in doing it.

2. The action. A call. Does not compel.

3. The purpose. To bring from toil to rest, from danger to safety, from nature to grace.

II. THE OBEDIENCE. Immediate — no delay. Thorough. They left, renounced, gave up, not to return: forsook, parted with possessions, relations. The reason was to follow Him — imitate, save. Through humility to glory. What remarkable faith! What ready obedience!

(J. R. Taft, M. A.)


II. His readiness.

III. His devotedness.

(Preb. Griffith, M. A.)

I. Consider THE DEMAND made upon the men called.

1. It involved the sacrifice of

(1)Domestic ties;


(3)Their means of livelihood.

2. It secured



(3)St. Andrew's cross. Such was the prospect.

II. Contemplate THEIR OBEDIENCE manifested.

1. It was thorough.

(1)They forsook all;

(2)They followed Him — everywhere.

2. It was constant.

III. Now, as regards YOURSELVES.

1. You have been called to follow Christ —

(1)In your baptism;


(3)Warnings of Providence.

2. You are called to — Renounce evil ways.

3. You are called as they were, to endure loss, pain, death. Test your proceedings: — Sunday-how do you keep it? church — do you value its services? Holy Communion, etc.

(G. Venables.)

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