The Calling of Peter and Andrew.

Book pages.

In Matthew 4:18-20, it gives an account of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew. But John 1:41-42 gives an apparently different account of the calling of the two brothers. Please explain.

Regards Romanoff, Bahamas

Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
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. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

John 1:41-42 (NIV)
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And 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).

The gospels of the New Testament developed along a pattern similar to other ancient writings. For many years the stories and teachings of Jesus were communicated primarily by word of mouth. In addition to the fact of limited literacy, members of the early church believed Jesus would return soon, so they felt no urgency to write down His teachings for the future. From approximately A.D. 60 until A.D. 90, four individuals responded to the need of the Church by writing down the message of, and about, Jesus. As they did, these individuals surely held several goals in common. Responding to the crises around them, they wanted to preserve the gospel message for believers who would follow in future generations. In this sense the authors were each trying to produce a book for the Christian community. They wrote down the good news of Jesus to strengthen, to educate, and to encourage those who already accepted its message.

It is also clear that they intended to use a written form of the gospel as an additional tool for evangelism (John 20:30-31). The evangelists envisioned the written gospel as a vehicle to spread faith in Jesus Christ. In this sense, each evangelist was trying to produce a missionary book.

Understanding the missionary character of the four Gospels is an important factor in their study. The Gospel writers' primary interest was not to produce great works of literature, nor was their intention to write a biography in the modern sense of the word. Their principal objective was to convert individuals to faith in Christ. Thus, they wrote primarily to convince, not to record facts.

The primary intention of the evangelists determined the shape and content of the written Gospels. One may wish the Gospel writers had included additional information about Jesus' home life, His adolescence, or some other area of interest; but the Gospel writers were not led to believe that kind of data was crucial for faith. The evangelists structured their works to give the message maximum impact on the readers. They included material they felt was essential for the reader to know to be able to make a decision about Jesus' identity. All other concerns regarding form and content of the Gospels was secondary to the missionary objective.

Most theologians take it that the story John told happened before the event told by Mark, Matthew and Luke. When Jesus meets Simon and Andreas by the sea and calls them to follow him and become fishers of men, they have already met him at the occasion which John is relating to us.

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