Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

John 1:43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

Matthew 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,

15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. (Mark 6:7 says Jesus sent them forth “by two and two.”)

13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Luke 9:10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.


MEMORY VERSE: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. —John 15:16


CENTRAL THOUGHT: From among the multitude of his disciples, Jesus chose and ordained twelve apostles. He commissioned them and gave them authority and power to preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out devils. They were with him from His baptism until the day He was taken up to heaven and were witnesses of His resurrection.




John 1:45 “Nathanael”: thought to be the same as “Bartholomew” (a surname which means “Bar Talmai”, or “the son of Talmai”). In Mark 3:18 and Luke 6:14, Nathanael is paired with Philip, who was the instrument of bringing him first to Jesus. After His resurrection, when Jesus appeared at the Sea of Tiberias, “Nathanael of Cana in Galilee” is mentioned along with six other apostles who were present (John 21:2).

Matthew 9:9 “The receipt of custom”: a place where taxes were gathered; a toll booth. As this was by the seaside, it might have been the place where the ferry tax, for carrying persons and goods across the lake, was collected. Matthew was a publican, an officer under the Romans to gather the public revenue.

Luke 6:13 “Disciples”: a learner or pupil; one who follows one’s teachings. “Apostles”: a delegate; messenger; one sent forth with orders.

Luke 6:15 (Also Matthew 10:4) “Simon called Zelotes” (Matthew calls him “Simon the Canaanite”): surnames given to distinguish him from Simon Peter. There are several opinions as to the meanings of these names. Some scholars suppose that both names indicate his connection with the Galilean Zealot party, a sect which stood for the recovery of Jewish freedom and the maintenance of distinctive Jewish institutions. (From the Hebrew “kanná,” zealous; compare the Chaldee “kanán,” by which this sect was denoted.) Others say “Canaanite” doesn’t mean a pagan, or a man of Canaan, but “one of Cana, which by interpretation is Zelus, from whence it is that Luke called him Zelotes.” Some commentators feel “Zelotes” simply means “zealous” because of his great fervency in preaching the gospel. This is an example of the disparity one may find when comparing commentators.




Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us the account of Jesus ordaining and sending forth the twelve apostles. Additionally, they each record more details on the calling of the two pairs of fishermen brothers—Andrew and Simon (Peter), and James and John, sons of Zebedee. John adds that Andrew and another disciple, who were at first followers of John the Baptist, had been previously attracted to Jesus when John said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” After Andrew had spent the day with Jesus, he went and found his brother Simon, and said, “We have found the Messiah!” and brought him to Jesus. When Jesus looked at Simon, he immediately gave him the name Cephas, or Peter. (There seems to be a period of time between this meeting and the day he called them both to leave their nets.)

Jesus then called Philip, who found Nathanael. Evidently, the two were close friends. To Nathanael’s honest questions, Philip merely said, “Come and see!” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He gave him a special, personal witness that He was indeed the Son of God: He accurately read his character and let him know that He knew what Nathanael had been doing under the fig tree.

What do you think he was doing under the fig tree? I think he was praying—earnestly seeking to know about the Messiah. Perhaps he was asking for a more definite witness. Whatever it was, Jesus more than satisfied his doubts.

As for the rest of the apostles, we don’t have that many details. You may read traditional accounts of their labors, travels and the manner of their deaths in other writings.

Adam Clarke wrote an interesting note concerning the choosing of the disciples to be apostles: “It is worthy of notice, that those who were Christ’s apostles were first his disciples; to intimate, that men must be first taught of God, before they be sent of God. Jesus Christ never made an apostle of any man who was not first his scholar or disciple. These twelve apostles were chosen (1) That they might be with our Lord, to see and witness his miracles, and hear his doctrine; and (2) That they might bear testimony of the former, and preach his truth to mankind.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Purpose: Jesus promised Andrew and Simon that He would make them ______________ ___ ________.
  2. Previous Employment: Matthew was a _______ _____________.
  3. Preparation: How long did Jesus spend in prayer before choosing His twelve apostles?
  4. Pairs: Name the pairs of brothers and the pair of close friends who followed Jesus.




The theme I see coming from this collection of scriptures about the calling of the different disciples is that of leaving all. Simon and Andrew left their nets, James and John left their nets and their father, and Matthew left his table of revenue. Jesus called others too, to leave their positions and follow him, but many had excuses.

These twelve were willing to leave all. It was a big thing to them, for later Peter brought it up to Jesus when he said, “Lord, we have left all and followed Thee.” Being human—and yet carnal—the disciples had tendencies to feelings of superiority but also feelings of anxiety at the thought that their familiar, comfortable ways of providing for themselves had been laid aside and the future seemed a bit uncertain. Who would care for them if Jesus were taken away? They weren’t sure how all of this was going to turn out.

The Old Testament prophets we studied faced this as well. Abraham didn’t really know where he was going or how he would be provided for. Moses certainly inched his way forward with many trepidations. No doubt Elijah felt fear gnawing away in the pit of his stomach as he hid away in the underbrush and listened for sounds of Jezebel’s soldiers. Elisha smacked the Jordan with Elijah’s mantle and said, “Where is the God of Elijah?” And Jeremiah? At age 14, and speaking to people who opposed him constantly, the future looked anything but promising. Yet they all trusted and obeyed…

We too have been called to leave all and trust God to direct our paths and supply our needs. Thank God, we have seen “the end of the Lord” in all of these accounts. We are comforted that God did lead, did provide, did supply, ALL the needs of these prophets and apostles. We can be assured that He will do the same for us when we know He is saying, “Leave it all and follow Me.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




It has become a growing trend to see how far back we can trace our ancestry. It is both interesting and intriguing to find our relatives and discover where they fit into the lineage of our family histories. We are their descendants. Their blood runs through our veins.

There is an unbroken connection to who they were and who we are. Without them we would not exist. What were their personalities? What were their backstories? And most importantly, what was their response to the call: “Follow me”?

Every Christian has a spiritual ancestry—one that I believe can be traced, through the Holy Ghost, directly to the apostles of Christ. Their obedience to the call to follow the Lord, to preach the gospel, and to commit those teachings to faithful men directly impacts our spiritual lives today.

The blood of Christ flows through us because of them. Because they were faithful, we too have the privilege of salvation. We are their direct descendants. We are part of their spiritual lineage. They live on through us, and we are spiritually alive because of them.

Twelve men. Twelve personalities. Twelve backstories. Brothers, friends, strangers. A diverse group with diverse histories. One call to follow. One mutual response—they left all and followed Christ. As they followed they inspired others to follow also.

The Lord has called us too. How we respond will directly impact our families and subsequent generations. Will we leave all and follow him? Will our legacy be a part of the unbroken heritage that reaches from the apostles to the coming of Christ? We are the disciples and apostles of this generation. How will we respond to His call: “Follow Me”?

—Bro. Darrell Johnson