What does Matthew 4:18 mean?
ESV: While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
NIV: As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
NASB: Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
CSB: As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter), and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.
NLT: One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers — Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew — throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.
KJV: And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
NKJV: And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has moved to Capernaum and has fully engaged in His ministry on earth as the Christ. Matthew now begins to introduce Jesus' disciples. Capernaum was a fishing town on the Sea of Galilee. It is not surprising that Jesus called several fishermen to follow Him there.

This was not the first time Jesus met Peter and Andrew. John, the apostle, tells that story in his book about Jesus (John 1:35–42). Andrew had been a former disciple of John the Baptist and was standing with John one day when John saw Jesus and called out, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" Andrew understood Jesus to be the Messiah in that moment and went to get his brother Simon to meet Jesus. Jesus took one look at Simon and immediately changed his name to Cephas, which has passed through languages like Greek and English to become "Peter."

Jesus apparently did not call the brothers to follow Him at that first meeting. Peter and Andrew were from another fishing town on the Sea of Galilee, Bethsaida, but they had moved to Capernaum and were working as fishermen there. Jesus saw them as He was walking.

The brothers were in the midst of casting a net into the water. This method of fishing involves throwing out a circular net with lead sinkers attached to its edges. As it sinks, it traps the fish beneath and inside it. Such nets were about 20 feet across. The fact that the brothers were in the middle of casting a net makes their immediate obedience to Jesus' command in the following verses even more striking.

The Sea of Galilee, named after the region of Galilee, was also known as the "Lake of Gennesaret," as it is called by Luke (Luke 5:1).
Verse Context:
Matthew 4:18–22 describes Jesus' calling of two sets of brothers to follow Him as His disciples. Both pairs are working as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee as Jesus is walking by. He commands them to follow Him. Both Andrew and Peter, and James and John, immediately do so, leaving behind careers and family.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 3 ended with the Holy Spirit coming to rest on Jesus following His baptism. Now the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness to endure tempting by the devil after 40 days of fasting. Jesus demonstrates His sinlessness by resisting all temptations. He begins His ministry in the region of Galilee, settling in Capernaum and calling some disciples to follow Him. Jesus' work in Galilee includes traveling from place to place, proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of heaven is near and healing every kind of affliction. He soon becomes famous, drawing huge crowds from great distances.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 3 ends with a great affirmation from the voice of God the Father: Jesus is His Son. Immediately after that, God's Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for a time of temptation by the devil. Jesus passes that test and then begins His ministry in the region of Galilee. Jesus begins to call His disciples and travel around the region. He teaches in the synagogues and heals people with every kind of affliction. Jesus' fame grows quickly. This provides Him a large audience for the Sermon on the Mount, which Matthew begins to record in chapter 5.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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