Matthew 4:19
And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
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Fishers of men - Ministers or preachers of the gospel, whose business it shall be to win souls to Christ. Follow me - Come after me, δευτε οπισω μου. Receive my doctrines, imitate me in my conduct - in every respect be my disciples. We may observe that most of the calls of God to man are expressed in a few solemn words, which alarm, the conscience, and deeply impress the heart.

I will make you fishers of men - Ezekiel 47:8-10, casts much light on this place; and to this prophet our Lord probably alludes. To follow Christ, and be admitted into a partnership of his ministry, is a great honor; but those only who are by himself fitted for it, God calls. Miserable are those who do not wait fur this call - who presume to take the name of fishers of men, and know not how to cast the net of the Divine word, because not brought to an acquaintance with the saving power of the God who bought them. Such persons, having only their secular interest in view, study not to catch men, but to catch money: and though, for charity's sake, it may be said of a pastor of this spirit, he does not enter the sheepfold as a thief, yet he certainly lives as a hireling. See Quesnel.

Some teach to work, but have no hands to row;

Some will be eyes, but have no light to see;

Some will be guides, but have no feet to go;

Some deaf, yet ears, some dumb, yet tongues will be;

Dumb, deaf, lame, blind, and maimed, yet fishers all!

Fit for no use but store an hospital.

Fletcher's Piscatory Eclogues. Ec iv. 5, 18.

Following a person, in the Jewish phrase, signifies being his disciple or scholar. See a similar mode of speech, 2 Kings 6:19.

And he saith unto them, follow me,.... These two brethren had been the disciples of John, as Theophylact thinks, and which seems agreeable to John 1:35 and though through John's pointing out Christ unto them, they had some knowledge of him, and conversation with him, yet they abode with him but for that day, John 1:37 and afterwards returned to their master; and upon his imprisonment, betook themselves to their former employment: from whence Christ now calls them to be his disciples, saying "follow me", or "come after me": that is, be a disciple of mine; see Luke 14:27. And to encourage them to it, makes use of this argument; "and", or "for", I "will make you fishers of men": you shall be fishers still, but in a higher sense; and in a far more noble employment, and to much better purpose. The net they were to spread and cast was the Gospel, see Matthew 13:47 for Christ made them not , "fishers of the law", to use the words of Maimonides (g), but fishers of the Gospel. The sea into which they were to cast the net was first Judea, and then the whole world; the fish they were to catch were the souls of men, both among Jews and Gentiles; of whose conversion and faith they were to be the happy instruments: now none could make them fishers in this sense, or fit them for such service, and succeed them in it, but Christ; and who here promises it unto them.

(g) Hilcot. Talmud. Torah, c. 1. sect. 12. so Dr. Lightfoot cites the phrase, but in Ed. Amsterd. it is , "the judgments of the law".

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.19. And he saith unto them, Follow me—rather, as the same expression is rendered in Mark, "Come ye after Me" (Mr 1:17).

and I will make you fishers of men—raising them from a lower to a higher fishing, as David was from a lower to a higher feeding (Ps 78:70-72).

4:18-22 When Christ began to preach, he began to gather disciples, who should be hearers, and afterwards preachers of his doctrine, who should be witnesses of his miracles, and afterwards testify concerning them. He went not to Herod's court, not to Jerusalem, among the chief priests and the elders, but to the sea of Galilee, among the fishermen. The same power which called Peter and Andrew, could have wrought upon Annas and Caiaphas, for with God nothing is impossible. But Christ chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Diligence in an honest calling is pleasing to Christ, and it is no hinderance to a holy life. Idle people are more open to the temptations of Satan than to the calls of God. It is a happy and hopeful thing to see children careful of their parents, and dutiful. When Christ comes, it is good to be found doing. Am I in Christ? is a very needful question to ask ourselves; and, next to that, Am I in my calling? They had followed Christ before, as common disciples, Joh 1:37; now they must leave their calling. Those who would follow Christ aright, must, at his command, leave all things to follow him, must be ready to part with them. This instance of the power of the Lord Jesus encourages us to depend upon his grace. He speaks, and it is done. 4:19 Follow me. Already disciples, they were now called to preparation for apostleship.Verse 19. - Follow me; come ye after me (Revised Version); δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου. There is no thought of continuous following from place to place (ἀκολουθεῖν) , but of immediate detachment from the present sphere of their interest and of attachment to Jesus as their leader. And I will make you fishers of men; Mark, "to become fishers of men," laying more stress on the change in their character necessary for success in this new kind of fishing. Luke 5:10 brings out the change in the nature of the work(ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν). Fishers. The word suggests care, patience, skill, besides habits of life fitted for endurance of privation and fatigue. The same promise is, as it seems, related in Luke 5:10, where notice:

(1) It is connected with the miracle of the draught of fishes.

(2) It is not verbally identical with this: Μὴ φοβοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν.

(3) The words are addressed individually to Simon.

Follow.

Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said to him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Matthew 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from there, he saw a man, named Matthew, …

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, …

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, …

Mark 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the …

Luke 5:27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, …

Luke 9:59 And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first …

John 1:43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and finds Philip, …

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall …

John 21:22 Jesus said to him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that …

I will.

Ezekiel 47:9,10 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that lives, which moves, …

Mark 1:17,18 And Jesus said to them, Come you after me, and I will make you to …

Luke 5:10,11 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were …

1 Corinthians 9:20-22 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to …

2 Corinthians 12:16 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I …

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