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THE CALL TO SIMON PETER
A Fisherman of Lake Gennesaret
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Lake Gennesaret in the Gospels

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of
Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to
hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the
shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them
and were washing their nets. He got into one of the
boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to
put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down
and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had
finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the
deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon
answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but
have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down
the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so
many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So
they signalled to their partners in the other boat to
come and help them. And they came and filled both
boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon
Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go
away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and
all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish
that they had taken; and so also were James and
John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with
Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching people.’ When they
had brought their boats to shore, they left everything
and followed him.   
Gospel of Luke 5:1-11.

Jesus Left Nazareth to Live at Capernaum by the Lake

Now when Jesus* heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.  He left Nazareth and made his
home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of
Zebulun and Naphtali,  so that what had been spoken
through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:  ‘Land of
Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea,
across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the
people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of
death light has dawned.’ From that time Jesus began
to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has
come near.’  
Gospel of Matthew 4:12-17

Jesus Teaches in a Synagogue in Capernaum

He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was
teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded
at his teaching, because he spoke with authority.  
Gospel of Luke 4:31-32.

Jesus Heals the Centurion's Servant at Capernaum, a
Romanized Town

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing
of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion
there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who
was ill and close to death. When he heard about
Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him
to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus,
they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy
of having you do this for him, for he loves our people,
and it is he who built our synagogue for us.’ And
Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from
the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him,
‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to
have you come under my roof; therefore I did not
presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and
let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set
under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to
one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and
he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave
does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was amazed at
him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he
said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such
faith.’ When those who had been sent returned to the
house, they found the slave in good health.  
Gospel of
Luke
7:1-10.
Lake Gennesaret is the same as the Sea of Galilee or the
Sea of Tiberias (as known to the Romans)

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of
the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a
great crowd of people followed him because they saw
the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then
Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his
disciples.  The Jewish Passover Festival was near.  
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming
toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread
for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him,
for he already had in mind what he was going to do.  
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’
s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a
bite. Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s
brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley
loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among
so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat
down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then
took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those
who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the
same with the fish.  When they had all had enough to eat,
he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left
over. Let nothing be wasted.”  So they gathered them
and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five
barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.   
Gospel
of John
6:1-13

Jesus Calls for Peter and Andrew, fishermen, to be his
First Disciples

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And
he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for
people.’  Immediately they left their nets and followed
him.  As he went from there, he saw two other brothers,
James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat
with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he
called them.  Immediately they left the boat and their
father, and followed him.  
Gospel of Matthew 4:18-22.

Bethsaida, House of Fishermen

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found
Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’  Now Philip was from
Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  
Gospel of John
1:43-44.

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival
were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from
Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see
Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and
Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The
hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very
truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the
earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it
dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it,
and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for
eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and
where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever
serves me, the Father will honour.
Gospel of John 12:20-
2
6.

Notes on Photos:  Right Column #1-5 show the
synagogue that once was in Capernaum.  #6 shows the
domes of the Greek Orthodox Church at Capernaum.  #7-
9 show the Franciscan Church of the House of Peter at
Capernaum.  #10 (and smaller thumbnail) show a meal of
fish (tilapia
galilaeus aka St. Peter's Fish - dark spots on
this fish are linked with the finger marks of Peter) fresh
from the Sea of Galilee.  Left Column #1-5 show the Lake
of Gennesaret (also known as Sea of Galilee or Sea of
Tiberias).  #6 shows the calling of Peter at Capernaum. #7
shows the new glassy Octagon Church built over the
ruins of the 5th century church at Capernaum.  #8 show
the garden memorial to Peter at Capernaum.   #9 (and
smaller thumbnail) show an icon depicting the Last
Supper in the dining room of the Pilgerhaus Tagbha on
the northwestern shore of the lake.  Bottom:  Thumbnails
show the ruins of Bethsaida, the birthplace of Peter.   
Photos taken on April 20-21, 2010.   Publisher's Note:  
This is one of the most lovely, tranquil places of the St.
George's Cathedral pilgrimage of the Holy Land, where
one can look out to the calmness of the water and reflect
ever more deeply, spiritually.  
Charleston C. K. Wang  -
5/11/2011.
BETHSAIDA (HOUSE
OF FISHING), A TOWN
NEAR THE SEA OF
GALILEE, BIRTHPLACE
OF PETER, AND
LANDMARKS AROUND
THE RUIN
S
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Pope John Paul II visited the ruins of Capernaum
during March, 2000.  Man to the left is Dean
Stephen W. Need of St. George's Cathedral,
Jerusalem during the 2010 pilgrimage
THE EUCHARIST AT CAPERNAUM
BY THE LAKE
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