What does Matthew 4:22 mean?
ESV: Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
NIV: and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
NASB: Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
CSB: Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
NLT: They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
KJV: And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
NKJV: and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is gathering His disciples, the twelve men He will train to become fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). So far, he has called two brothers to follow Him. Andrew and Peter did so immediately, leaving their fishing nets and careers behind them (Matthew 4:18–19).

Now Jesus has called two more brothers. James and John were working in a fishing boat with their father, mending fishing nets. They also immediately leave the boat and their father behind to begin the full-time work of being Jesus' disciples. It is likely they knew who Jesus was (John 1:35–39) and believed Him to be the Messiah, as did Andrew and Peter.

James and John appear to leave behind even more than Andrew and Peter, however. They leave behind active careers, but also walk away from family and a successful family business. Becoming Jesus' disciple is immediately costly for them, but they do not hesitate.

Mark's gospel adds the detail that James and John left their father with the hired servants (Mark 1:20); the brothers did not leave their father destitute, helpless, or unable to complete his own work.
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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