The Disciples and Apostles of Jesus

As Jesus went around teaching and healing, he called people to start following him. Once as he was walking by the lake called the Sea of Galilee, He saw two fishermen. Simon and his brother Andrew were throwing a net into the lake to catch fish. Jesus said to them, "Come and follow me. I will make you fishermen who will catch people . So Simon and Andrew left there nets and followed Jesus. Jesus gave Simon another name-"Rock." In the Aramaic language this name is called "Cephas" and in the Greek language it is called "Peter."

As Jesus continued walking by the lake, he saw two more brothers. James and John were sons of a man called Zebedee. They were in there boat, preparing their nets to catch fish. Jesus told the brothers to come with him. So they left the boat and their father, and they followed Jesus.

On another day, Jesus was walking beside the lake. He saw the tax office there and a tax collector named Mathew Levi sitting there. Jesus said to him, "follow me." Then Matthew stood up and followed Jesus.

Many people followed Jesus. They were called disciples, that is, people who learn from a teacher. Out of his disciples, Jesus chose twelve men and called them apostles. The word apostle means someone who is sent out. After he trained them, he gave them the power to heal people. Then he sent them out to preach and heal. These are the names of the twelve apostles: Simon peter, James and John (the sons of Zebedee), Andrew, Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the zealot, and Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot was the one who later turned Jesus over to his enemies.

Jesus taught his disciples what it meant to follow him. We can learn this too. He said, "if anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. The person who wants to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life because of me will save it. For what good does it do someone if he gets everything in the world but loses his own soul" (Matthew 16:24-26; Mark 8: 34-36; Luke 9:23-25). Another time he said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Now Jesus did not really mean that we are to hate people. That was a Jewish way of saying that we have to love Jesus so much more than these other people that in a way it seems like we hate them. If they say do one thing and Jesus says do something else, we must always do what Jesus says if we want to be his disciples. He continued, "The person who does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." It is a great cost, but we must also count the cost of going to hell if we do not follow Jesus (Luke 14:26-33)

Another time peter said to Jesus, "We have left everything and followed you." And Jesus answered, "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands because of me will receive a hundred times as much in this life, along with persecutions, and in the future world, eternal life" (Matthew 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30). It costs a lot to be a disciple of Jesus, but the reward is very great.

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