Lesson: Calling Twelve Disciples

January 25, 2011

for Saturday, 29 Jan 2011 — a lot of kids away — we had 6 students along with our 4 volunteers

Topics: 1. Ministry of John the Baptist; 2. Jesus Called Twelve Disciples

Volunteers: Colleen, Paul, Kaitlyn, Allyson

Drivers: am: fran; pm: tyler

Memory Verse: Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24)

New Song: “Apostles” by Jamie Soles

Scriptures: Matthew 4:18-22; 9:9-13; 10:1-4; Mark 1:14-20; Luke 6:12-16; John 1:35-51


  • (10:00am) together: Matthew 6 “Lord’s prayer
  • review class rules
  • Sing — [note new song]
  • Paul and [Kaitlyn or Allyson] to little lambs room with the 6 or so younger kids. Colleen and Allyson stay in catechism room with the older group — note Sabrina wants to stay with her sister
  • Lesson — (see below)
  • memory verse (see above)
  • Older group return to catechism room
  • Crafts/activities — see below
  • (11:00 am) SNACK/BREAK
  • (11:20 am) two-team review relay game with questions from today’s class
  • crafts/activities — continued
  • stickers/bookmarks
  • Sing
  • Praying: [Paul]
  • (11:50 am)
  • tidy

Additional Materials

  • (Alyssa, Josie, and) Kaitlyn have “Joseph” projects to show the kids
  • Paul will bring color poster illustrations by CEV

Craft/Activity Ideas

  • Finalize the older kids’ Joseph/Egypt newspaper project (glue to poster board); complete with the younger kids

Coloring Pages

Paul will bring two excellent illustrations by Terry Julien: John the Baptist, and Simon/Andrew leaving their nets.


This map shows the cities and regions discussed in this lesson

Much of this text is point form only. Note that many of the word/phrase choices come from the NIrV translation.


  • the Sea of Galilee: lots of people working and buying/selling
  • fishermen there would mend nets, catch fish from fishing boat with nets, sell fish
  • fishermen’s life would not be easy: Sea of Galilee often changes into a raging tempest; there were no engines, nor special equipment for adjusting their sails/anchors — i.e., they relied on physical strength; fishermen also have bad seasons of no fish
  • In those days, Israel was under Roman rule — a tax collector was someone who worked for the Romans — these were known to often cheat people; i.e., collect extra money to keep for themselves
  • Knowledge in Canaan of prophesy of Messiah — recall our lessons on promise to Abraham — read out loud Genesis 22:18; 49:10; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Micah 5:2 — SOME PEOPLE IN ISRAEL WERE waiting for the Messiah (see Luke 2:38)
  • Jewish people called Zealots tried to overthrow Roman rule in “Palestine”
  • Two followed John the Baptist (see next section); they apparently knew they were sinners who needed to be saved


At least two of the men who Jesus called, (John and Andrew), were explicit disciples of John the Baptist

  • John, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth [kids will recall from December lessons], set apart by God from his birth, grew up and became strong in spirit.
  • He lived in the Judean wilderness, in Bethany [see map].
  • He wore a weave of coarse camel-hair, with a leather belt around his waist.
  • For food, he ate locusts and wild honey.
  • people from Judea countryside, and Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John the Baptist
  • His preaching was this: “Stop doing what is evil, and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
  • Recall the prophesy: “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)
  • Also: A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)
  • John baptized people in the Jordan River (see map — Jordan in Judea region, just west of Bethany), to show that they had confessed their sins, and changed their ways, turning to God who forgives.
  • the Jewish leaders sent priests and assistants from the Temple in Jerusalem, and they asked, “Who are you?”
  • “I am not the Messiah,”John answered. “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘clear the way for the LORD’s coming!’”
  • John spoke to the Jewish leaders: “Don’t think you are ‘safe’ just because you are the descendants of Abraham. That means nothing. Instead, change the way you are living, to prove that you have turned to God.”
  • “God will judge those who do not repent of their sins; yes, He will chop with an ax every tree that does not produce good fruit, and He will throw them into the fire!”
  • The Jewish leaders then asked John, “If you are not the Messiah, then why are you baptizing people?”
  • “Here I am, baptizing with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God . . . but the One who comes after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire! He is right here among you already, but you do not recognize Him.”
  • So that people might believe, John was telling them about the true Light, who is Jesus Christ, and that He was coming into the world. Jesus Christ would give to those who believe the right to become children of God. [see John 1:7-12]
  • “He is so great that I’m not worthy to even be a slave who stoops down and unties the straps of His sandals. He is going to separate the good from the bad; He is going to clean up, gathering the wheat into His barn, but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
  • When he saw Jesus, John said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I told you about — the One who is far greater than I am, who existed long before me.”
  • To discuss:
    • What is baptism? What does water do to dirt on your body?
    • What happens when Jesus forgives somebody’s sin?
    • How is the baptism of Jesus better than the baptism of John?
    • Do you suppose Jesus went to John so he would baptize Him? and why would He? (See Matthew 3:13-17.)
  • One day [see below], Herod the son of the Herod who ruled in the time of Joseph and Mary had John imprisoned — later killed — his head removed at the request of his wife Herodias.


  • Jesus was (approx. 30 years old), now baptized by John, and began his work and teaching of the GOOD NEWS
  • Two disciples of John the Baptist were JOHN and ANDREW
  • DISCIPLE: student — obeys his teacher
  • Jesus walking by, John Baptist said: “Look! The Lamb of God!”
  • John and Andrew followed Jesus; “What do you want?”
  • “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
  • “Come, you will see.”
  • They spent afternoon and evening with Him
  • Andrew went and found his brother Simon [they were both from the town of Bethsaida — see map]: “We have found the Messiah” — and he brought Simon to Jesus
  • “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas.” Cephas means Peter (or rock)
  • The next day, Jesus went to Galilee; found Philip along the way: “Follow me”
  • (Philip was from the town of Bethsaida, like Simon and Andrew)
  • Nathanael was under a fig tree
  • Philip found Nathanael: “We have found the One that Moses and the prophets wrote about. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
  • “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
  • “Come and see.” So Nathanael went, even though he didn’t think anybody important could be from Nazareth
  • Jesus at Nathanael: “Here is a true Israelite. There is nothing false in him.”
  • “How do you know me?”
  • “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree. I saw you there before Philip called you.”
  • “Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.”
  • “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” [addressing all disciples:] “You will see heaven open, and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”
  • [review JACOB:
    • on his way to Haran [fleeing from Esau his brother, who wanted to kill him], Jacob stopped for the night at a place called Luz
    • rested his head on [or beside] a large rock and fell asleep
    • in a dream, Jacob saw a ladder, or staircase, that reached from earth to heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it
    • God was standing beside the ladder
    • “I am the LORD God who was worshiped by Abraham and Isaac. I will give to you and your family the land on which you are now sleeping. Your descendants will spread over the earth in all directions and will become as numerous as the specks of dust. Your family will be a blessing to all people. Wherever you go, I will watch over you, then later I will bring you back to this land. I won’t leave you–I will do all I have promised.” [from CEV translation]
    • Jacob woke up
    • “The LORD is in this place, and I didn’t even know it.”
    • Jacob was afraid
    • “This is a fearsome place! It must be the house of God and the ladder to heaven.”
    • Early the next morning, Jacob took the same rock and set it up like a pillar to mark this as a place of worship
    • poured olive oil on the rock to dedicate it to God
    • renamed Luz to “Bethel” (see map), which means “house of God” ]
  • RECALL THE DISCIPLE NAMES WE KNOW SO FAR: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael (wasn’t chosen as an apostle, but was a disciple)

two basic types of fishing nets: cone-shaped for hand-casting; and a large draw net with floats and sinkers


  • Jesus did many great things during this time [wine at wedding; cleansing of the temple; teaching at synagogues; woman at well in Samaria; healing nobleman’s son; healing at pool of Bethesda]
  • John the Baptist was imprisoned
  • Jesus walking beside the Sea of Galilee [probably at or near Capernaum]
    • he saw the brothers we have already met (Peter, Andrew) throwing a net
    • “Come. Follow me. I will make you fishers of people”
    • left their nets and followed him; later, Peter would remark, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Mark 10:28)
    • brothers: John, James; in a boat with their father Zebedee — they were mending some tears in their fishing nets
    • left the boat and their father and followed Jesus
  • NAMES WE KNOW NOW: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, James, John (son of Zebedee)
  • Jesus continued miracles (leper, paralytic)
  • at [probably Capernaum], Jesus saw a man named Matthew, who was sitting at “the tax collector’s booth”
  • “Follow me”
  • Matthew got up and followed him
  • Later, Jesus had dinner at Matthew’s house — other tax collectors were there, and other friends of Matthew
  • ADD MATTHEW TO THE NAMES WE KNOW: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, James, John, Matthew
  • (Matthew was first called Levi)


  • (man with withered hand healed on Sabbath)
  • “On one of those days,” Jesus spent all night PRAYING at a mountainside
  • the next morning He called ALL who were His disciples — from these He identified 12 as APOSTLES
  • APOSTLE — disciples of Jesus who He specifically chose as his witnesses
  • SIMON PETER, ANDREW, JAMES [son of Zebedee], JOHN [son of Zebedee], PHILIP, BARTHOLOMEW, MATTHEW, THOMAS, JAMES [son of Alphaeus], SIMON [who was called the Zealot], JUDAS [son of James], and JUDAS ISCARIOT (the one who would later hand Jesus over to his enemies] — two of these apostles wrote parts of the New Testament in the Bible
  • Jesus gave the twelve authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every illness and sickness
  • preach the message: “The kingdom of heaven is near”; heal those who are sick; bring the dead back to life; drive out demons; you have received freely, so give freely; “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as harmless as doves. Watch out! Men will hand you over to the local courts. They will whip you in their synagogues. You will be brought to governors and kings because of me.” (Matthew 10:16-18; NIrV)
  • [learn the apostle’s song]

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Saviour and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
-Philip Doddridge

Review Questions

  • After Andrew and John spent afternoon and evening with Jesus, what did Andrew tell his brother Simon? (“We have found the Messiah”)
  • What new name did Jesus give to Simon, and what does it mean? (Peter, rock)
  • What did Jesus say that helped Nathanael realize that Jesus was the Son of God?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when He told the fishermen He would make them “fishers of men”? [discuss]
  • When Jesus called Matthew the tax collector to follow Him, what did Matthew do? (left his table and followed Jesus)
  • What did Jesus do before He chose 12 apostles from among His disciples? (prayed all night)
  • etc…

3 Responses to “Lesson: Calling Twelve Disciples”

  1. I’ve always loved the memory verse that you used with this lesson—it’s so calming and reassuring! The lesson you outlined helped me out a lot. I’m a Sunday school teacher, and I’m still trying to figure out everything, so it’s always helpful to have a quick outline to go by. Thanks for all of your great lessons!

  2. adopted Says:

    We’re glad if it can be helpful to somebody else! Wow, your website has a lot of material! Thank you for sharing.

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