The 12 Disciples

Did you know....

that the word disciple means to be a personal follower of Jesus?

This is the story about the 12 men who left their jobs and went with Jesus.

Many people came to listen to the teaching of Jesus and followed Him. These followers were called disciples. There were many disciples, but Jesus chose twelve men to be His special followers. They were called the disciples or apostles of Jesus.

The word apostle means one who is sent on a mission. The twelve men had a mission after Jesus died - to spread Jesus' teaching and preach God's word.

The day after Jesus was baptized, John the Baptist was near the Jordan River. He was telling everyone how he had seen the Holy Spirit descend from heaven and rest on Jesus. "I saw it happen and I testify that He is the Son of God."  

Jesus walked by and John said “Look! There is the Lamb of God!”. 

John baptist

Two men who had been with John followed Jesus. One man was named Andrew who quickly found his brother Simon (who Jesus named Peter, the rock) and said, “We have found the Messiah (which means Christ).” Jesus called to them and said, “Follow me.” Because they were fishermen, Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of people”. Jesus meant that from now on, instead of catching fish, they would go out fishing for men, teach them, and bring them to God.

Andrew

The next day Jesus travelled to Bethsaida on the shores of Lake Galilee where he found Philip and asked him to come to be his disciple. Philip went off to find a friend called Nathanael to tell him that the Messiah had been found. Jesus recognized Nathanael as an honest man.  Both joined Him as disciples.

Jesus disciples


When Jesus was at a lakeshore teaching crowds that had gathered around Him, he saw a tax collector named Matthew (Levi) and said, “Come, be my disciple.” So Matthew got up and followed Him.

Jesus Matthew

That night Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guest along with his fellow tax collectors and many other sinners.

When the teachers of religious law saw Jesus eating with bad people, they asked, “Why does He eat with such scum?”

Jesus answered them explaining that healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.

Jesus had come to call sinners, not those who thought they were already good enough.

Jesus religious teachers

The disciples of Jesus are mentioned often in the Bible. They had a special commitment to Jesus because they left their jobs quickly, simply because Jesus said to them, “Follow Me.” Jesus gave these men special jobs to do and special powers including making sick people well.

The names of the disciples are sometimes confusing because some have the same name and others are known by more than one name.

The disciples are: Simon, who is called Peter (Cepha), and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee and John his brother (not John the Baptist); Philip and Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael); Thomas and Matthew the publican (Levi); James the son of Alpheus and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus; Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrays Jesus.

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Bible lesson activities

Learning Activity Extensions

Read about the story in the Bible:
Mark 2:14-17
Luke 5:27-32
John 1:28-51

Courtesy of supercoloring.com, download and colour, or colour online:
Jesus calls the first disciples
Jesus chooses 12 disciples 
Jesus calls Matthew

Jesus Chooses His Disciples

Care Bear's bible Stories for Kids (1:20 min.)

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