Matthew 4:20
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Straightway - Immediately - as all should do when the Lord Jesus calls them.

Left their nets - Their nets were the means of their living, perhaps all their property. By leaving them immediately, and following him, they gave every evidence of sincerity. They showed, what we should, that they were willing to forsake all for the sake of Jesus, and to follow him wherever he should lead them. They went forth to persecution and death for his sake; but also to the honor of saving souls from death, and establishing a church that shall continue to the end of time. Little did they know what awaited them when they left their unmended nets to rot on the beach, and followed the unknown and unhonored Jesus of Nazareth. So we know not what awaits us when we become his followers; but we should cheerfully go when our Saviour calls, willing to commit all into his hands - come honor or dishonor, sickness or health, riches or poverty, life or death. Be it ours to do our duty at once, and to commit the result to the great Redeemer who has called us. Compare Matthew 6:33; Matthew 8:21-22; John 21:21-22.

Follow him - This is an expression denoting that they became his disciples, 2 Kings 6:19.

20. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. When Christ calls, men shall obey; when he calls, he draweth. It is not of indispensable necessity that men who exercise the ministry should have nothing else to do, Paul’s hands ministered to his necessities; but nothing but a providing for ourselves and households can excuse ministers in entangling themselves with the things of this life. Churches that are able ought better to provide for their ministers, and ministers so provided for sin if they do not wholly give up themselves to their work, 1 Timothy 4:15. And they straightway left their nets,.... That is, as soon as he had called them, they left their worldly employment, and followed him; they gave up themselves to his service, and became his disciples; they not only left their "nets", but their fishing boats, and fishing trade, and all that belonged to it, even all their substance; and also their relations, friends, and acquaintance, see Matthew 19:27 which shows what a mighty power went along with the words and call of Christ; and what a ready, cheerful, and voluntary subjection this produces, wherever it takes place. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 4:20. he effect was immediate: εὐθέως ἀφέντες. This seems surprising, and we naturally postulate previous knowledge in explanation. But all indications point to the uniquely impressive personality of Jesus. John felt it; the audience in the synagogue of Capernaum felt it on the first appearance of Jesus there (Mark 1:27); the four fishermen felt it.—δίκτυα: ἀμφίβληστρον in Matthew 4:18. In Matthew 13:47 occurs a third word for a net, σαγήνη; δίκτυον (from δικεῖν, to throw) is the general name; ἀμφίβληστρον (ἀμφιβάλλω), anything cast around, e.g., a garment, more specifically a net thrown with the hand; σαγήνη, a sweep-net carried out in a boat, then drawn in from the land (vide Trench, Synonyms of N. T., § 64).Matthew 4:20. Εὐθέως, straightway) A promptitude and quickness in following our Lord is denoted in James and John, in Matthew 4:22, where εὐθέως occurs again. The same quickness is denoted in Matthew 4:19, in the case of Peter and Andrew, by the word Δεῦτε, whether you read εὐθέως or not. In the very ardour of doing their daily work, they received the call. Thus also Matthew ch. Matthew 9:9, blessed moment!—ἠκολούθησαν, they followed) Ingenuously, without any immediate stipulation concerning reward.—See ch. Matthew 19:27.Verse 20. - And they straightway left their nets. (For their leaving everything Wetstein, on ver. 19, compares Epictetus, 12, Ἐάν δὲ κυβερνήτης καλέσῃ τρέχε ἐπὶ τὸ πλοῖον ἀφεὶς ἐκεῖνα πάντα μηδὲν ἐπιστρεφόμενος, "If the steersman call, run to the ship, leaving all those things, without regarding anything.") The Rheims Version, with its love of archaisms, has, "But they incontinent, leaving the nettes, followed him."
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