DLTK's Bible Stories for Children
The Twelve Disciples
One day Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. It was actually a big beautiful lake and many men would try to catch fish there.
In fact, if you were to walk along the beach you would pass boat after boat after boat. With men working hard emptying their nets they used to fish with, getting ready to go back out to sea, or gathering all their fish together so they could take them to the store to sell them.
Jesus walked by many boats but stopped and watched some men at a particular boat. These men were Simon (whose nickname was Peter) and his brother Andrew. They were working very hard and were frustrated about not catching any fish the night before.
These men had actually met Jesus before, but only for a short time. John the Baptist had introduced them to Jesus, just after Jesus was baptized. The men knew that Jesus was the One who came to save us so we can go to Heaven.
Jesus went right up to their boat and asked them if they could put their boat out into the water a little ways. He then climbed in, sat down and started teaching from the boat. People walking along the shore and the men in their fishing boats stopped to listen.
After Jesus was done teaching He said to Simon, "Go out in deeper water and put your nets down into the water." Simon answered, "Master, we've worked all night trying to catch fish and we haven't caught anything. But only because you said so, I will let the nets down."
As soon as they had let the nets down, they caught so many fish the nets began to break. They quickly waved for help to their friends in the boat next to them for help. They began filling both boats with the fish they had caught but there were so many fish that the boats started to sink.
Simon Peter bowed down to Jesus and said, "Lord you shouldn't be near me I am sinful." All the men were amazed at what Jesus had done: Simon, Andrew and their friends in the other boat James and John. Then Jesus said to all of them, "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
What happened next was quite amazing! What do you think you would do if Jesus said that to you? Maybe instead of fishing- you're playing with a friend. Jesus comes to you and says, "Come, follow me." Maybe you would say, "Just a minute, we're not quite done playing yet." Or maybe you would walk your friend home, tell your parents your leaving, clean up your toys...
Well these men immediately left everything they were doing and went with Jesus. They left their boat, their nets, and all the fish they caught. They left without a worry in the world, they somehow knew they could trust Jesus.
All together Jesus asked twelve men to be His disciples to follow Him and all twelve men agreed. All these men believed what Jesus said and followed His example. They helped Jesus tell others about God - they were fishers of men.
These are the names of the twelve disciples: Simon (who Jesus liked to call Peter, which means rock), his brother Andrew; brothers James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James and Thaddaeus; Simon and Judas Iscariot, who would later betray him.
These men were not all fishermen before they became disciples. They all did many different things and came from different types of families. They were not perfect either, they just wanted to try to be like Jesus and spread the good news about who Jesus was.
Jesus would like us to be His disciples too. Some people do leave their families when they're older and become missionaries, other people are missionaries right where they live. They help in church or tell their friends about Jesus. Maybe there is a way you can be a disciple right now, right where you are.