Jesus calls His Apostles

Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew by Saint Theophylact of Ochrid

Matthew 4:18.  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.

Matthew 4:19.   “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, 

These two had been disciples of John, and while John was still living they had approached Christ. But when they saw John arrested, they returned again to their fishing, and so Christ comes, fishing for them.

“and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 4:20. At once they left their nets and followed him.

Behold obedient men, who followed Him immediately. From this it is clear that this is the second time that He called them. For they had been taught by Christ on a previous occasion (Jn. 1:35-42), then left Him, and when they saw Him again followed Him readily.

Matthew 4:21. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. 

It is the greatest of virtues to care for one’s father in his old age, and for the father to be supported by the just labors of his sons.

They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,

Mending their nets: they were poor and as they were unable to buy new nets, they were stitching together their old ones.

Matthew 4:22.  and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

It appears that Zebedee did not believe and it is for this reason that they left him. Do you see when it becomes necessary to leave one’s father? When the father becomes an impediment to virtue and reverence for God. When James and John saw the first two follow Christ, they rightly followed Christ as well, imitating their good example.

Matthew 4:23.   Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, 

Jesus enters the synagogues of the Hebrews to show that He is not opposed to the law.

proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

He begins with miracles, to give credibility to what He teaches. By “disease” is meant chronic illness, and by “infirmity,” a temporary bodily disorder.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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