Bible Study

Gospel Journey | First Four Disciples Or Four Fishermen?

I’ve reached the part in this study where the information can get a little tricky into forming a timeline. Apparently, the sources I am using as references do not list every single event, especially smaller pieces, of scripture. Please bear with me 🙂

Today’s Reading: Matthew 4:12-22, Mark 1:14-20, Luke 3:23, 4:14-15, 5:01-11, John 1:35-51

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Jesus Begins Galilean Ministry In His 30s

We are told Christ is in His early 30s (some think He was 30 or perhaps 33) when He starts to minister. (Luke 3:23)

The Spirit returns Jesus to Galilee after His three temptations (Luke 4:14) Galilee is a huge region. It was given out to five tribes during the time of Joshua.  Jesus spent most of His ministry going to various places in Galilee.

It is in Galilee we see a number of things happen and the order is a little off depending on which Gospel you read. I’m going to try to follow an actual map to try to make sense of this.

The book of Matthew says when He heard John was in prison, He departed from Nazareth.

(Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:14-15)

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First Four Disciples (John’s Account) 

In the book of John, it says John the Baptist stood with two of his disciples and he proclaimed that Christ was the Lamb of God. The two disciples heard this, and then they followed Jesus.

Christ asks them what they seek and they respond that they are looking for a Teacher, and they request to know where He is staying. He invites them to join Him and they stay with Him for a day. One of the two who followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. (John 1:40) Andrew tells Peter they have found Christ.

The next day Christ wanted to travel to Galilee (they lived on the outskirts of the region of Galilee in Bethsaida, John 1:44). Christ sees Phillip and requests for him to follow Him. Phillip finds Nathaniel and says that the Messiah spoken of in the old scriptures has been found. Nathaniel wonders if anything good can come out of Nazareth, and Phillip answers, “Come and see.” What a great answer. 

Christ sees Nathaniel coming and says that Nathaniel has no deceit in him.

Immediately, Nathaniel asks how does He know him, and Christ answers before Phillip called him, He saw him under the fig tree.

Nathaniel proclaims He is the Son of God.

Christ answers he, Nathaniel, will see greater things than this. He tells Nathaniel that he will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

Whoa. 

(John 1:35-51)

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Four Fishmen Called Disciples

Luke’s Account – Chapter five of Luke says there were four fishermen. Simon Peter, John, and James (assuming an unnamed Andrew as well). They were in a boat already with Jesus and Jesus was teaching the multitudes from the boat. Afterward, He had them launch their nets down to catch fish. Simon Peter states that they have caught nothing all day, however, he would obey Christ, referring to Him as master (implying something has already taken place at this time for Him to be called Master).

They lift up nets of fish and Simon Peter declares for Christ to leave him, because he, Peter, is a sinful man. Everyone is astonished, and upon reaching land, they forsake all and follow Him.

Matthew & Mark’s Account– Christ was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He sees Peter and Andrew casting nets, and tells them to follow Him because He will make them fishers of men. They leave their nets and follow Him.

When Christ walked farther He sees James and John, who were in a boat, He called out to them, and they left their father in the boat, with hired help.

(Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:01-11)

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What To Take Away– In these accounts, we are given the names of Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Phillip, and Nathaniel. Is it possible that four out of the six men were also fishermen, if not more? More than likely as the region was populated by waters and fish.

It does seem that Peter was aware of Christ beforehand from the account in Luke, which kind of connects to John’s account. Is it possible that while Andrew was telling Peter about Christ, Jesus appeared? Maybe.

We know a few things off hand. These men were familiar with fishing. They saw Christ and were amazed by Him. Jesus approached four of the men and specifically instructed He would make them fishers of men. Scripture indicates various rumors were going around about Christ once His ministry started in Galilee, so these men may have been familiar with stories of Him before He even arrived. Again, the timeline makes it a little hard to figure exactly which story came first. 

I think all of this just points to how incredible Christ was and is to this day. How Christ will always remain incredible. He knows us so deeply.

But do we know Him intimately because that is what the Lord desires? 

Comment Below:
Are you familiar with all of these versions? Or that there is a difference between the first four disciples and the four fishermen?

Monthly Scripture: (NIV) Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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