Did they already know who He was? It seems they must have known something about Him because they just left everything and followed Him.
NLT - 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
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In my opinion (and as mentioned in the question) those whom Jesus called may have been previously aware of Him; or heard about Him (from friends or others) before Jesus called them; or talked with Jesus prior to following Him, such as indicated in John 1:35-50 (although the gospels do not provide details for every apostle in that regard). So Jesus' call to them may not have been as though it were from someone completely unknown or a total stranger. In addition, all Israel was in expectation of the Messiah, so anyone who was reported to possibly be that person would have naturally drawn people who wanted to be his followers. (When John the Baptist was preaching in the area of the Jordan River, people willingly left the cities to hear him, and the gospels say that John had disciples also, meaning that at least some of those individuals must have stayed with John.) Also, not everyone whom Jesus called responded to that call. The gospels report multiple individuals who gave excuses as to why they could not follow Him, or could not follow Him at that time. (And there may have been others who declined His call, but whom the gospels do not mention.) I personally believe that the individuals who responded to Jesus' call had been pre-selected by God the Father, which Jesus Himself seemed to imply in John 17:6, and which would explain why they included one who would eventually betray Jesus, in fulfillment of Scripture (as Jesus noted in John 17:12).
The phrase: "God said" resonates In the creation account of Genesis 1. John 1:1-3 tells us: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Isaiah 46:10-11: "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" In the Matthew 8 account of The Lord Jesus calming the sea the disciples were in fear of their lives. Verse 25-27 records: "And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" In the close of John 6 Peter declared in v.69 " And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." The Lord responded in the next verse: "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" Hebrews 1:1-3 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" His disciples followed simply because the creator, sovereign God in the flesh issued a command. Notice that it wasn't a request, not something that could be argued or debated. They followed because "God said".
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