Book II Chapter 17
39. But further, as to John's statement, that "after this He went down
to Capharnaum, He and His mother, and His brethren and His disciples; and
they continued there not many days;" it is uncertain whether by this period
these men had already attached themselves to Him, in particular Peter and
Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee. For Matthew first of all tells us that
He came and dwelt in Capharnaum, and then that He called them from their
boats as they were engaged in fishing. On the other hand, John says that
His disciples came with Him to Capharnaum. Now it may be the case that
Matthew has but gone over here something he had omitted in its proper order.
For he does not say, "After this, walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw
two brethren," but, without any indication of the strict consecution of
time, simply, "And walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brethren,"
and so forth: consequently it is quite possible that he has recorded at
this later period not something which took place actually at that later
time, but only something which he had omitted to introduce before; so that
the men may be understood in this way to have come along with Him to Capharnaum,
to which place John states that He did come, He and His mother and His
disciples:or should we rather suppose that these were a different body
of disciples, as He [may already have] had a follower in Philip, whom He
called in this particular manner, by saying to him, "Follow me"? For in
what order all the twelve apostles were called is not apparent from the
narratives of the evangelists. Indeed, not only is the succession of the
various callings left unrecorded; but even the fact of the calling is not
mentioned in the case of all of them, the only vocations specified being
those of Philip, and Peter and Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee, and Matthew
the publican, who was also called Levi. The first and only person, however,
who received a separate name from Him was Peter. For He did not give the
sons of Zebedee their names individually, but He called them both together
the sons of thunder.
40. Besides, we ought certainly to note the fact that the evangelical
and apostolical Scriptures do not confine this designation of His "disciples"
to those twelve alone, but give the same appellation to all those who believed
on Him, and were educated under His instruction for the kingdom of heaven.
Out of the whole number of such He chose twelve, whom He also named apostles,
as Luke mentions. For a little further on he says: And He came down with
them, and stood in the plain, and the concourse of His disciples and a
great multitude of people. And surely he would not speak of a "concourse"
[or "crowd"] of disciples if he referred only to twelve men. In other passages
of the Scriptures also the fact is plainly apparent, that all those were
called His disciples who were instructed by Him in what pertained to eternal
41. But the question may be asked, how He called the fishermen from
their boats two by two, namely, calling Peter and Andrew first, and then
going forward a little and calling other two, namely the sons of Zebedee,
according to the narratives of Matthew and Mark; whereas Luke's version
of the matter is, that both their boats were filled with the immense haul
of fishes. And his statement bears further, that Peter's partners, to wit,
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were summoned to the men's help when
they were unable to drag out their crowded nets, and that all who were
there were astonished at the enormous draught of fishes which had been
taken; and that when Jesus said to Peter, "Fear not, from henceforth thou
shall catch men," although the words had been addressed to Peter alone,
they all nevertheless followed Him when they had brought their ships to
land. Well, we are to understand by this, that what Luke introduces here
was what took place first, and that these men were not called by the Lord
on this occasion, but only that the prediction was uttered to Peter by
himself, that he would be a fisher of men. That saying, moreover, was not
intended to convey that they would never thereafter be catchers of fish.
For we read that even after the Lord's resurrection they were engaged again
in fishing. The words, therefore, imported simply that thereafter he would
catch men, and they did not bear that henceforth he would not catch fish.
And in this way we are at perfect liberty to suppose that they returned
to the catching of fish, according to their habit; so that those incidents
which are related by Matthew and Mark might easily take place at a period
subsequent to this. I refer to what occurred at the time when He called
the disciples two by two, and Himself gave them the command to follow Him,
at first addressing Peter and Andrew, and then the others, namely, the
two sons of Zebedee. For on that occasion they did not follow Him only
after they had drawn up their ships on shore, as with the intention of
returning to them, but they went after Him immediately, as after one who
summoned and commanded them to follow Him.