Week 27 | Sections 40,41

Fishers of MenIn this week’s study we’re transitioning from phase two to phase three of Jesus’ ministry. Though this is week 26 for us, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist about a year before. In today’s study the five men who had been following Jesus choose to become his disciples. This is a major transition in their lives, and in the life of every disciple who since believed because of the ministry they embraced – to become fishers of men.


Scripture:

Section 40 | Matthew 4:13-16
13 Leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum,1 which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,2 14 that it might be fulfilled3 which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, to those who sat in the region and shadow of death, to them light has dawned.”4

Section 415

Matthew 4:18-22
18 Walking by the sea of Galilee,6 he saw two brothers: Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed him. 21 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. He called them. 22 They immediately left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Mark 1:16-20
16 Passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.7¯8 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you into fishers for men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets, and followed him.9   19 Going on a little further from there, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him.
Luke 5:1-11
1 Now while the multitude10 pressed on him and heard the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 He entered into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.11 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered him, “Master, we worked all night, and took nothing; but at your word I will let down the net.”12  6 When they had done this, they caught a great multitude of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 They beckoned to their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help them. They came, and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.”13 9 For he was amazed, and all who were with him, at the catch of fish which they had caught; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people alive.”14 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything, and followed him.

Group Dialog:

  1. What is the difference between being a follower and being a disciple? 
  2. What were these men risking, leaving, and gaining in becoming Jesus’ disciples?
  3. What might you say are the primary lessons you’ve learned thus far in your journey of faith?
  4. Are there people you know who have chosen not to respond to God’s grace? How many chances does God give to become his disciple?
  5. If you’ve made the decision to be a disciple what would you say you are learning now? To what mission are you compelled?
  6. What choices have you recently made to become more proficient as a disciple, and fisher of men?
  7. What can we learn about humility, worth,membership, and stewardship from Peter’s response and that of the other disciples?
  8. What preparation and relationships ought to exist before enlisting people into leadership roles of the local church?

Learning Objectives:

evangelism, become disciples – not just followers, vocation, trust, choice, divine abandon,  spiritual growth, humility, purpose, lifestyle, worth, value, unworthy, stewardship


Study Notes:

  1. He had just been in the temple in Nazareth where he had read from the scroll of Isaiah (Luke 4:16:31a). From this moment on he considers Capernaum to be his home. This is a journey that takes about 10 hours, 2 days.
  2. Read Joshua 19:10-16
  3. Read: Messianic Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.
  4. This quote is from Isa 9:1-2. Matthew is presenting the mission of Jesus to be the fulfillment of the Messianic promise for Gentiles and Jews alike.
  5. Within the lives of Jesus’ disciples there is a spiritual, emotional and responsible progression evident in the Harmony of the Gospels. While these men had been following Jesus for about a year and even officiated over some baptisms (Section 33, 34), they were now invoked into a new order of evangelists – “fishers of men”. There will be two more significant transitions along the path of spiritual maturity and each of transitions are seen in the five phases of our study (cf. Sections 1, 24, 41, 49a, 53).
  6. This appears to be a second instance of Jesus seeing these fishermen (John 1:35-51 | Section 28). In the first they were with John the Baptist along the river Jordan and this time the setting is at the Sea of Galilee. So Jesus was most certainly familiar with each of these men as they had accompanied him on many (if not all) his travels since his baptism one year earlier.
  7. In the passage that preceded this (Mattew 4:13) we read that Jesus went and lived in Capernaum for some time. Thomas and Gundry’s assessment is that during this time the men returned to fishing. Jesus doesn’t seem to take issue with it, but invites them to take the next step as his disciples.
  8. In Fishermen in Jesus day we learn that many fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were conversant (not learned, but practiced) in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and some level of mathematics so that they could conduct business with the merchants from different areas.
  9. This is the moment of commitment. Becoming a disciple is more than showing up, volunteering, or following along. There is a commitment to the mission, synergy of purpose, and unity of heart throughout the unit. This was a moment when personal choice (autonomy) could have resulted in a different outcome.
  10. These are the those who lived there and also those who followed him and came to Capernaum to hear more of Jesus teaching. In section 28 he came alone to John the Baptist and he left with only five men.
  11. Take a look at the Jesus Boat“, the model/kit featured in the Model Ship Builders Newsletter.
  12. Peter’s will is being transformed in this instant. While its not logical, He knew Jesus (the son of the carpenter) to be the worker of miracles and so he concedes and is then astonished and convinced.
  13. Jesus did not expect Peter to be perfect or perfected already. Neither does he expect us to be perfect, but rather respond to the vocation of God on our lives. Each of the disciples had a circle of friends, and a unique personality that allows the mission to be furthered.
  14. Though Peter was humbled by the authority and power of Jesus he and the others responded immediately, devoting themselves to Jesus from that time onward. Still Peter and the others had their moments of doubt, confusion and failure.