Matthew 4:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 4:21, NIV: 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, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,

Matthew 4:21, ESV: And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.

Matthew 4:21, KJV: And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

Matthew 4:21, NASB: Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets; and He called them.

Matthew 4:21, NLT: A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too.

Matthew 4:21, CSB: Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, preparing their nets, and he called them.

What does Matthew 4:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Matthew is describing how Jesus gathered His team of disciples. After calling the brothers Andrew and Peter to follow Him, they immediately left behind their nets—and their careers—to become disciples of the man they believed to be the Messiah.

Now Jesus continues along the shore of the Sea of Galilee in or near Capernaum. He sees another pair of brothers at their work as fishermen. These two, James and John, are working in a boat with their father Zebedee. The boat is large enough to hold several people. It may have been the kind large enough to hold as many as 15 men. With larger boats, fishermen could capture and haul more fish, increasing their profits.

James and John and their father were mending the big, circular fishing nets they used to catch and haul in the fish. If this was morning, they may have just finished a night of fishing. Jesus calls the brothers to follow Him: to be His disciples. It is likely that John had met Jesus before (John 1:35–39), though Matthew doesn't say so explicitly.