Matthew 4:12-25 Jesus Calls Disciples

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,     the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,     Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people living in darkness     have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death     a light has dawned.”[f]

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

18 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. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 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, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[g] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Jesus Calls Disciples

The introduction to Jesus’ life is over.  Now he starts about his work in earnest.  It seems that he has got started in ministry and then moved north to the shores of The Sea of Galilee.  He had been hanging around with the fishermen of Capernaum for quite some time, according to John and the other gospels.  Now he calls them to a decision.  Are the these fishermen going to follow him?  He is calling them to make a radical life change and commence a journey with him that will not be at all smooth.  They have misconceptions of what he is offering them, they will oppose him, he will confuse them. However, when Jesus says, “Follow me!”  They drop their livelihood and change their plans.  Peter does not abandon his wife and familial responsibilities, Jesus does not call them to be cruel or reckless.  He calls them to live a life of walking in his footsteps.  Jesus takes the disciples with him on a journey which declares that God’s kingdom is at hand.  Jesus teaches in the synagogues of leaders who will reject him.  However, as he wanders around the countryside of Galilee more and more people join the crowd of people whose needs Jesus is taking care of.

A transition will occur as the disciples remain faithful to their commitment to Jesus.  The crowds will waver as he calls them to understand much more than taking care of their felt needs.  Perhaps we can learn that taking care of needs is a start to forming a relationship.  However, as we disciple people, we need to prepare them to walk a path which may be marked with confusion and suffering.  True disciples have faith that the Jesus who has called them is worthy of following.  False disciples walk away when they cease to see that Jesus is important to helping them with their own plans.  Whose plan for your life are you following?  Jesus says to you, “Follow me!”


  1. What events occured before Jesus stepped up and started ministry in Capernaum?
  2. What did Jesus’ ministry involve?
  3. In your mind, why do you think the first disciples followed Jesus?
  4. When did you first hear Jesus caling you to be a disciple?
  5. How has your opinion of who Jesus is matured as you have walked with him?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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