When we think of Jesus’ disciples, we often picture a group of twelve men who left everything to follow Him. However, did you know that two sets of brothers were among those chosen to be His closest followers?
James and John, Sons of Zebedee
James and John were fishermen by trade and worked with their father Zebedee in Galilee. Jesus first called them while they were mending their nets by the seashore.
“And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Matthew 4:19-20).
James and John were known for their fiery personalities. In one instance, they asked Jesus if they could call down fire from heaven to destroy a village that had rejected Him (Luke 9:54). Jesus rebuked them for their lack of compassion.
Despite their flaws, James and John were among the inner circle of disciples who witnessed some of Jesus’ greatest miracles. They were present at the transfiguration, when Jesus’ appearance was transformed before their eyes (Mark 9:2-8). They also asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in His kingdom (Mark 10:35-37), demonstrating their ambition.
Peter and Andrew, Brothers from Bethsaida
Peter was originally named Simon but was given the name Peter (which means “rock”) by Jesus because he would become a foundational leader in the early church. He was a fisherman like his brother Andrew and also worked with James and John.
Andrew was the one who introduced Peter to Jesus. He had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist but recognized Jesus as the Messiah when he heard him speak. “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ)” (John 1:41).
Peter was known for his impulsive nature and often spoke before thinking. He famously denied Jesus three times during His trial (Matthew 26:69-75) but was later restored by Jesus and became a powerful leader in the early church.
Andrew, on the other hand, was known for his quiet and humble nature. He is not mentioned as frequently in the gospels but played a significant role in bringing people to Jesus.
He brought a young boy with five loaves and two fish to Jesus, which led to the feeding of the 5000 (John 6:8-9). He also introduced some Greeks who were seeking Jesus to Him (John 12:20-22).
The Significance of Brothers
It’s interesting to note that both sets of brothers were fishermen. They were also all from Galilee, which was considered a less prestigious region than Jerusalem.
Jesus chose these men not because of their social standing or education but because of their willingness to follow Him. They left their families and livelihoods behind to become fishers of men.
The fact that two sets of brothers were among Jesus’ closest followers also speaks to the importance of family relationships. These men likely had a strong bond and supported each other as they followed Jesus.
The stories of James and John and Peter and Andrew remind us that Jesus called ordinary people with flaws and weaknesses to be His disciples. He saw potential in them that others may have overlooked.
As we follow Jesus today, we can take comfort in knowing that He still calls imperfect people like us to be part of His kingdom work. And just like these sets of brothers, we can support each other as we seek to follow Him more closely.