In John 1:35-42, 2 of John’s disciples followed Jesus after John announced the Christ’s presence.

“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ” ).” John‬ ‭1:40-41‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I thought though that Jesus saw Peter and Andrew by the sea. Matthew 4:18-20 says

“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.” Matthew‬ ‭4:18-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Which one of these happened first? Or which of these is correct; they seem like very different ways that the first disciples of Jesus came to be?


3 Answers 3


The disciples (James, John, Peter and Andrew) were called personally by Jesus after they, like many others, went from Galilee down to Judaea to repent and be baptised under John's ministry.

They must have temporarily laid aside their family businesses to focus on the spiritual events taking place near the River Jordan.

Whilst responding to John's ministry, Jesus passed by, and, at John's exhortation :

Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world [John 1:29 KJV],

they left John and followed Jesus.

Thereafter, returning to their occupations in the north, Jesus visited and called them to minister to others (to be fishers of men) whilst he (Jesus) walked by the Sea of Galilee as they fished.

Immediately, they left their occupations, this time as a permanence, in order to be wholly devoted to that especial calling.

The first is a personal calling. The second is a vocational calling.


This is one way to reconcile these 2 passages. John‬ ‭1 happened first.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Through John the Baptist, Andrew learned of Jesus. Andrew told his brother Simon (Peter). They started to follow Jesus on and off, still keeping their day jobs.

Later in Matthew 4, the initiative came from Jesus. Jesus saw them and commanded them to follow him officially/permanently.

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. 19“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

They met Jesus before. They knew him. They abandoned their regular jobs. Without hesitance, they followed him for good, to the end of their lives.


Logically the first instance (John 1:40-41) must precede the second (Matthew 4:18-20), because in the first instance the matter concerns the Andrew's and Simon's getting acquainted with and familiarised with Jesus, while the second instance Jesus coming to His new acquaintances and calling them to the mission.

It is logically non sequitur if after Jesus would, out of blue, without first getting acquainted and having conversed with them, have given a life-committing mission to them and they immediately abandon everything and follow Him.

And also, logically non sequitur that even if we suppose, just hypothetically, that such an 'out of blue' calling happened, then it would be totally implausible that after having acquired from Jesus the command to become 'fishermen of men', i.e. Apostles, they would have needed an instigation from the side of John the Baptist, their teacher, to follow Him, have Him turned towards them after Him knowing that He is followed, and have Him asked them "what are you looking for?" (John 1:38), for by that time He would know what they are looking for in their following Jesus, i.e. the becoming of fishermen of men. This question of Jesus then (John 1:38), rather indicates to their pristine, introductory encounter.

Just for an analogy: two karate practitioner brothers in a provincial town of Juanju (once famed in all China for its karate champs) learn from their coach about a great karate artist named, say, Jun Su, having arrived to Juanju; they immediately go and get acquainted with him and converse with him. A week later, Jun Su comes to those brothers while they are restoring their old car: "Come and follow me, I will make you restorers of not cars, but the Juanju karate fame!"

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