Those Who Became Jesus’ Disciples
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
I AM thinking of a person who is the finest servant of God that ever lived on earth. Do you know who he is? That’s right. Jesus Christ.
Do you think that you and I can be like him? Well, the Bible says that he set the example for us to follow. And he invites us to be his disciples.
What does it mean to be Jesus’ disciples? It means several things. To be Jesus’ disciples, we must learn from him. But that is not all. We must really believe what he says. Do you really believe everything that Jesus says? If we really believe, we will do what he tells us, won’t we?
Many people say that they believe in Jesus. But are all of them really his disciples? Do you think they are? No; most of them are not. They may go to church once in a while. But many of them have never taken time to learn what Jesus taught. If you try to talk to them about Jesus, they may say they are too busy. Or they say they are not interested. And they do not share in the preaching work that Jesus told his disciples to do. So they are not really his disciples.
What kind of people become disciples of Jesus? Do you know? It would be interesting to meet some of those who were Jesus’ disciples when he was a man on earth. Let me tell you about them.
Some of them were fishermen. One day while Jesus was walking beside the sea of Galilee he saw Peter and his brother Andrew. They were letting down a fishing net into the sea. Jesus called to them: “Come after me.”
Going a little farther, Jesus saw two other men who were brothers. Their names were James and John. They were in a boat with their father, repairing their fishing nets. Jesus called James and John to be his disciples too.
What would you have done? Would you have gone with Jesus right away? These men knew who Jesus was. They knew that Jesus had been sent by God. So at once they left their fishing business and followed Jesus.—Matt. 4:18-22.
It is plain that these men were willing, and that is important. But they were not perfect. Consider Peter. There were times when he said the wrong thing and got himself into trouble. But he had a good heart. He did not try to make it appear that he had done no wrong when he knew that he had done wrong. He accepted correction and was willing to change. If we are willing like Peter, we can be disciples of Jesus too.
Jesus also spoke to a rich young ruler. Could a man like this become a disciple of Jesus? He showed interest. He asked Jesus how to gain eternal life. Jesus explained it to him. But when the man learned that being a disciple of Jesus had to be more important in his life than his material riches, he became unhappy. Jesus invited him: “Come be my follower.” But the man did not join him. He loved his money more than he loved God.—Luke 18:18-25.
Jesus invited all sorts of people to be his disciples. Even those who had lived bad lives could change. But they must be willing to learn. They must really want to please God. Is that what you want to do?
The apostle Paul did. Before he became a disciple of Jesus he had done many bad things. He had Christians thrown into prison. But when he became a disciple of Jesus, he changed his whole way of life. Now he did things to help people, instead of hurting them. And he spent much time teaching people about God and his kingdom, just as Jesus had done.
One day Jesus chose twelve of his disciples to be apostles. The apostles were men whom he sent out to do special work. Some of them were used by God to write parts of the Bible. Do you know the names of the twelve apostles?
Let’s play a game. I will name each one of the apostles. And you repeat the names after me:
(1) Peter and (2) his brother Andrew, (3) James and (4) his brother John, (5) Philip, (6) Barthólomew, (7) Matthew, (8) Thomas, (9) James the son of Alpháeus, (10) Simon who is called “the zealous one,” (11) Judas the son of James, and (12) Judas Iscariot. But later Judas Iscariot became bad and turned against Jesus. So Paul was chosen by Jesus to be an apostle.
How many of those names can you remember? Tell me the names that you know.
The only disciples that we have talked about so far were men. Does that mean that only men could be disciples of Jesus? No. Women became disciples too. Some of them traveled with Jesus when he went preaching. There were Mary Mágdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and others. Later the Bible tells about a family in which four daughters were busy telling other people about God. What a happy family that must have been!
When Jesus was teaching, he took a special interest in young children. Why did he do that? What would you say? He knew that children could become his disciples. It is true that grown-ups can do some things that children cannot do. But grown-ups are not the only ones who can learn from Jesus. And they are not the only ones who can talk about God. You can do those things too.
Do you want to be a disciple of Jesus? I do. That is really the best thing that any of us can do.
It is a special thing to be a disciple of Jesus. Remember, before Jesus came to earth he had been with God in heaven. So he knows things that no other man knows. When we learn from him we learn things that only disciples of Jesus know.
So we can be like Jesus. We can be his disciples. And if we are truly Jesus’ disciples, then we will have the approval of God.