|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
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