From Fisherman to Fisher of Men

He was originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44)

 He lived in Capernaum (Mark 1:21 &29)

           -both cities on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.

He was married (1Corinthians 9:5, Mark 1:29-31)

He was a fisherman by trade w/ his brother Andrew, and partners with James & John the sons of Zebedee. (Luke 5:10)

How was Peter first introduced to Jesus:

READ: JOHN 1:29-42


       Jesus gave Simon the name Cephas (Peter)

John 1:42

Peter means - Rock

Why did God choose new names for some people? The Bible doesn’t give us His reasons, but perhaps it was to let them know they were destined for a new mission in life. The new name was a way to reveal the divine plan and also to assure them that God’s plan would be fulfilled in them.

READ: Matthew 4:18-22

 Jesus is walking by the sea of Galilee and he sees two brothers fishing, Peter and Andrew, and says to them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus calls these men to follow him. Why? Out of all the people in history he shows up on the scene, and comes to some fisherman and calls them to follow him. In Acts 4:13 – it says that Peter and John were unschooled ordinary men.

Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”


  Formal education for boys began at the age of 5.

The first stage of education was called Beit-Safar – meaning House of the Book, from 5-10 years of age where they would learn in a local synagogue or other buildings close by where scribes and rabbis would be their teacher.

During these five years they would orally recite the Torah (First five books of the O.T.), and work at memorizing. Repeating and memorizing.

The second stage of Jewish education was called the Beit-Talmud – meaning house of Learning. This was for boys 10-14 years of age.

During this time they would work on reciting and memorizing the Tanakh (Joshua-Malachi). By the end of this period they would have most if not all of the O.T. memorized or at least known very well.

It was during this time that they learned the art of rhetorical debating of questions and answers. The art of critical thinking. It was not about retaining knowledge, but teaching them to give thought to the question and then answer the question with another question, to help in processing the information in what it means.

By the end of this stage the fate of the Jewish boy could be determined. If he was brilliant and his parents could let him go, he would continue in studies. But most that were average or were not diligent, would stop their education and join their father in his trade which he was taught during his studies.


The next stage (14 and on) of schooling called the Beit-Midrash- meaning house of study, was for the elite, the brilliant. To continue into this stage of education would mean that the boy desired to be a scribe or rabbi. (Scribe – was a copier or translator of Scripture, and a rabbi was a teacher of the Word of God and the Oral Law.

As part of this stage the boy or student would go out and pursue a rabbi that he respected, and ask in hopes of being the rabbi’s “talmid” (student or disciple)

Most rabbis would not go out and seek out a student to learn under him.

If the rabbi accepted the young man as his student (talmid), the young man would leave everything, his family, community, synagogue, and business to follow his rabbi.

The goal was to be just like their rabbi or teacher. They would copy and imitate every aspect of their teacher. How he walked, talked, lived, and his interpretation of the scriptures.

                (“The Education of A Hebrew Child)


-1Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

So for Jesus to come to them and call them to follow him went against the cultural norm of what a rabbi or teacher would do.


V19 “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ 20 Immediately the left their nets and followed him.”-

Jesus is calling Peter to “Follow Him”

Jesus was asking Peter, this ordinary / common man to follow him. A rabbi, even greater the Son of God is asking this unschooled ordinary man to follow him.

Peter new that to follow a rabbi or teacher meant to surrender and totally submit yourself to their authority.

The decision to follow a rabbi as a talmid (student or disciple) meant total commitment in the first century as it does today. Since a talmid was totally devoted to becoming like the rabbi he would have spent his entire time listening and observing the teacher to know how to understand the Scripture and how to put it into practice. Jesus describes his relationship to his disciples in exactly this way (Matt. 10:24-25; Luke 6:40) He chose them to be with him (Mark 3:13-19) so they could be like him (John 13:15).



Romans 10:9-13 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When we confess Jesus as Lord, what we are saying that He is our master. Do you really believe that Jesus is your master, that you belong to Him and want to serve Him?

“The central issue of being a disciple of Jesus is: Will I willingly surrender – submit for a lifetime - every aspect of my life, including worldview, paradigms, career, personality, character, ethics, desires, motivations, values, family, ego, sexuality and attitudes to the authority of Jesus and His teachings?” BIBLE.ORG

So one who follows Jesus, is one who learns from Him through His word, obeys him, and is like him in their words, attitude and actions.



v.19 “and I will make you fishers of men.”


Jesus gave Peter A New Name

                             A New Leader

                             A New Purpose

Jesus is calling us to turn from our sin and believe in Him by faith and follow Him. When we do that he gives us a:

NEW IDENTITY – 2Corinthians 5:17

NEW LEADER – Romans 10:9

NEW PURPOSE – Matthew 28:19-20