Aim to learn that Jesus needed disciples to spread his message

* To learn that Jesus needed disciples to spread his message
* To know the names of the 12 disciples

* Bible story – Jesus Calls his Disciples (First Bible Stories, John Dillow)
* Matt: 4, 10; Mark: 1, 3; Luke: 5, 6
* Visual Aids – coloured pictures of the story
* Twelve disciples picture cards
* worksheets

Keyword – disciple – a follower of Jesus

Lesson Outline
1. Introduction
2. Story
3. Discussion
4. Activities – worksheets, picture cards, ‘Follow Jesus’ game, act out the story
5. Review the aims
6. Prayer

1) Introduction
* What was special about Jesus? He was the Messiah, the chosen one of God, who the Jewish people were expecting He talked about building God’s kingdom on earth; a world of love, peace and happiness. He wanted to share God’s love and teach God’s word to everyone, but he couldn’t do it all by himself. He needed help. 

* John the Baptist was meant to be Jesus’ first follower, but John didn’t understand who Jesus was. Jesus also wanted the religious leaders to listen to his message, but they criticized him.
Because of this, Jesus had to find ordinary people, who had no special position in society, but were humble enough to follow him. Today’s story is about the first people who became Jesus closest followers.

2) Jesus Calls His Disciples (from First Bible Stories)
News about Jesus and his teachings quickly spread. He spoke with such authority and power, that crowds of people came from all around to hear him speak. 
One day, Jesus was preaching on the shores of Lake Gennesaret. The crowd got bigger and bigger and began to push closer and closer to the shore. Jesus noticed two fishing boats pulled up onto the beach. The fishermen were nearby, washing their nets. Jesus stepped into one of the boats and asked Simon, the fisherman, to take him a little way out onto the lake. And from there, sitting in the boat, he was able to continue teaching the people. 

When he had finished, Jesus told Simon to row further out and drop his fishing nets into the lake. 
“We have worked all night, without any luck,” Simon said. “But, if you say so, we will try again.” 
Simon and his brother, Andrew, took the boat out further and let the nets down into the water.
Immediately, the nets filled with such a huge number of fish, that the nets almost broke and the boat started to sink! “
“Come, help us!” the two men shouted to James and John, who were in the other boat. The fishermen were astonished. 
As the boats reached the shore again, loaded with their catch, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. I want you all to follow me. From now on, you will be catchers of people, not fish.” 
So, the four men left their boats on the shore and became followers of Jesus. They were his first four disciples.

One day, Jesus went to see a tax collector, called Matthew and told him to leave everything behind and follow him. So, Matthew got straight up and did just that! He became the fifth disciple.
Tax collectors were not popular with the Jewish people, as they collected taxes for the Romans.
Many made extra money by over-charging the Jews. So, when Matthew gave a feast for Jesus at his house, some of the more religious people were disgusted that Jesus went. 
“Why do you eat and drink with such outcasts, Jesus?” they demanded, angrily. 
“People who are well do not need a doctor,” replied Jesus. “Like a doctor, I heal the sick. 
I do not need to help those who have already found God. I have come to help those, who are far away from God.” 

The disciples became his closest friends and travelled with him wherever he went. On some nights, when Jesus had finished teaching and the crowds had gone home, he often went up into the hills, where he could be quiet and pray. Sometimes, he prayed all night. 

Once, Jesus called his closest followers together. He had chosen twelve of the most loyal to be his special friends or disciples. These twelve were: Simon (whom Jesus named Peter) and his brother
Andrew, James and John, These were the first four disciples. Then there was Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon, Thaddeus and Judas Iscariot.

3) Discussion
Why did fishermen stop everything and follow Jesus?
– He spoke with authority and power, and crowds of people came to hear him speak
– He did something miraculous. He helped them catch huge numbers of fish
– He gave a message from God and they wanted to listen to him,
– They liked being with him,
– They wanted to help him.

What were the names of Jesus first four disciples?
Simon (called Peter by Jesus), Andrew, James and John

 What was Matthew’s job?
– a tax-collector

Why did the religious leaders criticize Jesus for eating at Matthew’s home?
– They thought it was wrong for a man of God to eat with a bad person, such as a tax-collector
– What did Jesus say in reply?
– He said he didn’t need to help those who had already found God. He came to help those, who were far away from God.”

How many close disciples did Jesus have?
– 12

What kind of followers did Jesus need?
– Jesus needed people who could leave their jobs and even their family and follow him. He needed people who would help him to teach others about God. The disciples were not rich. They
didn’t have high positions, but they were humble. And the 12 disciples were the ones Jesus chose because they believed and trusted Jesus completely.

What kind of people does God need today?
– He needs people to be disciples, who are ready to answer God’s call, live God’s way and share God’s message with others

How can children help?
– When you are busy and your parents call you, do you stop everything and come straight away? Do your parents have to keep telling you? Is it easy to stop and come? This is what Jesus disciples did. Jesus needed them and they came. Like the disciples children must learn to come when parents call. When we are older God might ask us to stop what we are doing and follow Him, because he needs us. He has a plan for our lives and knows what is best for us. That’s why when we are children we should learn to follow parents.


3) Activities
* Worksheets
– Colour the picture and write the names of Jesus first four disciples
– Re-arrange the letters find the names of Jesus’ followers
– Jesus had twelve disciples. One appears twice in the picture. Find him.
– Which fisherman caught the most fish? Follow the lines to the nets.

* Play ‘Follow Jesus’ – One child is Jesus. Everyone follows him around the room copying whatever he does. Change leaders from time to time

* Act out the story of the fishermen. When Jesus calls, stop everything and follow him. Do other activities that you do in daily life, such as drawing a picture, reading a book, cooking, playing.
Stop and follow when you are called.

* Learn the names of the 12 disciples
1. Peter
2. Andrew
3. James 1
4. John
5. Philip
6. Bartholomew
7. Matthew
8. Thomas
9. James 2 (son of Alphaeus)
12.Judas Iscariot

– Show each picture card. How many can the children remember? Take one away? Which one is missing?

– Play the memory game using the picture cards


4) Review the aims
* To learn that Jesus needed disciples to spread his message
* To know the names of the 12 disciples

5) Prayer
* Say a prayer to thank God for Jesus and his disciples. Ask God to help us be good disciples by following our parents when they call.


* Disciple means pupil or student, and the disciples were people who chose to follow Jesus and to listen to his teaching. They called him rabbi, or teacher. The twelve disciples were followers of
Jesus whom he had chosen to become his core group, the people he talked things over with and depended on.