Matthew 4:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 4:19, NIV: Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.'

Matthew 4:19, ESV: And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19, KJV: And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Matthew 4:19, NASB: And He *said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.'

Matthew 4:19, NLT: Jesus called out to them, 'Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!'

Matthew 4:19, CSB: "Follow me," he told them, "and I will make you fish for people."

What does Matthew 4:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus had met Peter and Andrew before this moment (John 1:35–42). Andrew, at least, had spent a day with Him, and Jesus had changed Simon's name to Peter. Before introducing Peter to Jesus, Andrew told his brother, "We have found the Messiah."

Their understanding that Jesus was the long-promised Christ, the one who would save Israel and bring the kingdom of heaven to earth, may explain why they obeyed Jesus so quickly. Still, their faith and quick action is remarkable. Jesus had seen the brothers at work. They were in the middle of throwing a net into the Sea of Galilee. Without any small talk or explanation—at least not as recorded in Matthew's account—Jesus commanded them: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

It was common in this day for a rabbi, or teacher, to gather students who would follow him in his daily life. They would be mentored by him, learning both through his words and through observing his daily interactions and choices. Jesus' call to younger men to follow Him in this way was not a foreign concept. Many rabbis and teachers had disciples. Andrew and Peter would have understood the role Jesus was calling them to fill.

The idea of fishing for men may have been strange, however. Peter and Andrew were expert fishermen. In one sentence, Jesus was already helping them understand the mission He would give to them.