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Matthew 4:18-25

Jesus gathers disciples and followers.

Tom Faletti

March 22, 2024

Matthew 4:18-22 Jesus gathers disciples


As we saw in the previous passage, something significant is happening.  Jesus went to the wilderness where John was baptizing and then returned home.  But now he has moved from his more rural village to a commercial town on the Sea of Galilee.  He has taken up John’s message: to repent for the kingdom of heaven is here.  But he is not preaching that message out in the desert, far from towns, as John was.  Instead, he is preaching it in an important commercial town in his region, and soon he will be going from town to town.


Whereas John waited for the people to come away to him, Jesus is taking the message to the people where they live and work.  Why is this significant?


Who does Jesus call?


Fishing is not a job for everyone.  It takes a person of a special character to handle the challenges faced by fishers.  What do you see in the character of successful fishermen that might be useful for more than just fishing?

Barclay suggests these attributes: patience, perseverance, courage, an eye for the right moment, and keeping oneself out of sight – see Barclay, Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, p. 73-74).  How might these be good attributes for people called to the task of evangelization –called to share a controversial message about God with people who might not yet be interested?


What does Jesus say to these fishermen?


Why do you think they followed him?


John 1:35-42 tells us that their decision to follow Jesus was not as abrupt as it sounds.  Andrew had been a follower of John the Baptist and had had a previous encounter with Jesus.  Have you had experiences where God prepared you before asking you to do something significant?  Explain.


What would it have taken for you to follow Jesus?



Matthew 4: 23-25 Jesus preaches, heals, and attracts large crowds


After gathering a few disciples, what does Jesus do next?


Verse 23 tells us that Jesus was both “teaching” and “proclaiming” (sometimes translated as “preaching”).  How is teaching different from proclaiming/preaching?  How are both valuable?


What kind of audiences would Jesus have found in synagogues?


Why might that have been a good place to start?


Besides teaching and preaching, what else does Jesus do?


Why do you think he heals – especially after resisting the temptation to do things for show?


What does Jesus’s desire to heal people tell us about him?


These activities bring him a great following.  Where do the people come from?


Are the crowds only from Jewish areas, or also from Gentile areas?  What does this tell us about Jesus’s early effect on people?

Jesus is attracting the attention of people from both Jewish and Gentile areas around Galilee.


Verse 24 says Jesus’s fame spread in Syria, which was Gentile territory to the northwest of Galilee.  Verse 25 says that crowds followed him from Galilee itself which was primarily Jewish but with some non-Jewish populations.  The Decapolis was the group of largely Gentile Greek cities east and southeast of the Sea of Galilee.  Jerusalem and Judea were Jewish territory to the south.  Beyond the Jordan was Jewish territory east of the Jordan River, south of the Decapolis, east of Samaria and running south to the area across the river east of Jerusalem and Judea.


Jesus will eventually visit all of these territories.


If you were in Galilee at this time, would you have been attracted to Jesus?  If so, what would have attracted you?


What attracts you about Jesus now in your life?



Take a step back and consider this:


In 4:24, Matthew tells us of the vast array of diseases and illnesses that Jesus cured.  Jesus is easing those kinds of suffering wherever he can.  At the same time, Jesus is trying to gather a core group of disciples whom he will put through an extended process of formation to prepare them to be leaders when he is no longer with them.


What do you think is going through Jesus’s mind as he heals people?


What do you think is going through Jesus’s mind as he gathers disciples?


What do you think is going through Jesus’s mind as he hears our prayers asking for healing and relief from various kinds of sufferings today?


Other people are praying to Jesus too. What might Jesus be saying to you as you think about what other people are praying to him?



Click here for the bibliography.

Copyright © 2024, Tom Faletti (Faith Explored, This material may be reproduced in whole or in part without alteration, for nonprofit use, provided such reproductions are not sold and include this copyright notice or a similar acknowledgement that includes a reference to Faith Explored and See for more materials like this.

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