Devotions (Matthew 4:12-23) Jesus preaches and calls his disciples to be “Fishers of Men”

What does it mean to become a Fisher of Men? That is the call of Jesus in Matthew 4 to his disciples. We’ve collected the following Bible studies, lessons, sermons, and devotionals to help you reflection on this important scripture.

Devotions on Matthew 4:12-23

How To Become Fishers of Men – The Spurgeon Archive

HEN CHRIST CALLS US by his grace we ought not only to remember what we are, but we ought also to think of what he can make us. It is, “Follow me, and I will …

Follow The Right Leader | Our Daily Bread

Nov 14, 1998 – … you fishers of men. —Matthew 4:19. Follow me!” That was the invitation given by Marshall Applewhite, self-appointed leader of the Heaven’s …

What It Means to Follow Jesus – In Touch Ministries

Nov 14, 2018 – Matthew 4:18-22 … 4. They pursued the higher purpose Christ offered them. Instead of simply making a living, Christ promised them a life with eternal purpose—becoming fishers of men for the kingdom of God. … Dr. Charles Stanley 

“Follow Me” | Desiring God

Oct 7, 2010 – … calls, as the Apostle Levi (Matthew) discovered.1 *** Levi looked around the… … Led by a rabbi with no formal theological training, his disciples tended to be a bit heavy on fishermen. … An intense young man was staring at him. … (1 Peter 4:11), because apart from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

40 Days of Love: We Were Made for Relationships– Rick Warren –

We Were Made for Relationships Rick Warren. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 NKJV) Follow this simple three-step process: 1 . List one to two people in each circle on page 97 . 2 .

Meditation Verse: Matthew 4:19 (compare on Bible Hub)

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 4:19 NIV

Commentary on Matthew 4:19

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers(19) Follow me.–The command came, as we have seen, to those who were not unprepared. Short as it was, it was in some sense the first parable in our Lord’s teaching, the germ of an actual parable (Matthew 13:47). It suggested a whole circle of thoughts. The sea is the troubled and evil world (Isaiah 57:20), and the souls of men are the fish that have to be caught and taken from it, and the net is the Church of Christ. The figure had been used before (Jeremiah 16:16), but then it had presented its darker aspect, and the “fishers of men” were their captors and enslavers. The earliest extant hymn of the Church, by Clement of Alexandria, dwells on the image with a rich and suggestive playfulness. Christ is thus addressed:–

“Fisher of men, the blest,

Out of the world’s unrest,

Out of sin’s troubled sea

Taking us, Lord, to Thee;

Out of the waves of strife,

With bait of blissful life,

Drawing Thy nets to shore

With choicest fish, good store.”Pulpit Commentary Verse 19. – Follow me; come ye after me (Revised Version); δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου. There is no thought of continuous following from place to place (ἀκολουθεῖν) , but of immediate detachment from the present sphere of their interest and of attachment to Jesus as their leader. And I will make you fishers of men; Mark, “to become fishers of men,” laying more stress on the change in their character necessary for success in this new kind of fishing. Luke 5:10 brings out the change in the nature of the work(ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν). Fishers. The word suggests care, patience, skill, besides habits of life fitted for endurance of privation and fatigue. The same promise is, as it seems, related in Luke 5:10, where notice:

(1) It is connected with the miracle of the draught of fishes.

(2) It is not verbally identical with this: Μὴ φοβοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν.

(3) The words are addressed individually to Simon.

Teaching Helps for Kids

Prayer of Devotion

Almighty and everlasting God,
Mercifully look upon our infirmities,
and in all our dangers and necessities
stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
Renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty Father,
your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
May your people,
illumined by your word and sacraments,
shine with the radiance of his glory,
that he may be known, worshipped,
and obeyed to the ends of the earth;
for he is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Book of Common Prayer – Church of Ireland

Matthew 4:12-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

18 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. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And 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, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.


  1. Matthew 4:17 Or the kingdom of heaven has come near
  2. Matthew 4:19 The Greek word anthropoi refers here to both men and women

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Tissot, James, 1836-1902. Calling of Saint James and Saint John, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved January 19, 2020]. Original source:

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