Bible Passage: Luke 6:12-16
Items you will need: Printer for the activity (or pens and pencils for drawing), scissors, glue (you will be directed to a website to download the pages to print)
How many of us can name the players of our favourite sports team? Or all the names of our favourite TV show or movie characters? My son’s first question, whenever we watch something, or he sees a new character in a book or on TV, is “What is their name?” Here are some common characters that my son talks about:
Now, here is your challenge…
As a family, see if you can write down the names of the 12 apostles (without looking them up first)
How did you do? If you did very well, great! If you didn’t do so well, that’s okay. When I was first asked to name them many years ago, I didn’t do so well either. But isn’t it funny how we can often remember the names of our favourite TV characters, but not the names of the 12 men who Jesus chose to be apostles?
Jesus knew that, one day, He would no longer be there on earth, so He would need to equip others to carry on sharing the Gospel; that’s why He chose these men. Also, while we often think about the 12 apostles, we know that there were others who were learning from Jesus as well; they were called disciples. You see, there are two special titles here; disciples and apostles:
Disciple - a student
Apostle - one who is sent
So, while Jesus had other disciples, He knew He was going to select a few of them and give them the title of apostle.
Read Luke 6:12-13 together as a family
Notice that before selecting these men, Jesus spent the whole night in prayer! Instead of just doing what He wanted to do, or what others suggested, Jesus took time to be with God the Father and pray about His decision for a long time.
As a family, who are some people that are very important in your life (friends, family members, etc.)? Take some time to pray for them right now. Also take a moment to pause and allow God to speak to you and see if there is anybody else He wants you to pray for.
We are going to read about the ones that Jesus selected from among his disciples (students) to be His apostles (those who are sent).
Read Luke 6:14-16 as a family
As you read this list, you might see some names that are familiar to you and some that may not be familiar. If you would like to know more about each apostle, I have provided more information at the end of this lesson.
Discuss as a family; do you see anything special about these 12 men? If you had to select people to go and share the Gospel, what sort of qualities would you look for?
At the time Jesus called them, no one would have thought he would have picked these men. They were not trained religious leaders, they came from very humble backgrounds; and to have a tax collector and a zealot in the same group seemed like it would only cause trouble! But, after Jesus spent a whole night in prayer we know that he selected these men, and all of them, except for Judas Iscariot, did go on to share the gospel after Jesus ascended into Heaven.
As you go about your day, take some time to think about how you could share God’s love today. Maybe it is calling someone you haven’t talked to for a long time. Maybe it is writing a card for someone.
Discuss something that your family wants to do to share God’s love with someone.
You and your family can help remember the 12 apostles by making these flip books I saw online:
Go to here and follow the activity to make flip books about the twelve apostles. The files are free to download and print.
Take some time to consider these twelve apostles and consider that while other heroes can be fun to watch or read, truly it is the apostles who helped change the world! Because of them and what they taught, the Good News of Jesus is all over the world today!
Have a Blessed Day!
Information about the 12 apostles:
Simon (Peter) - His Hebrew name was Simon but Jesus gave him the Greek name of Peter which means rock (John 1:42). He was a fisherman (Matt 4:18), he was married (Matt 8:14) and was the leader of the twelve.
Andrew - Simon (Peter)’s brother who was also a fisherman (Matt 4:18), originally a disciple of John the Baptist. He became a disciple of Jesus and introduced his brother to Jesus (John 1:29-41).
James and John - I put them together because they are always listed together. They too were once fisherman who fished with their father Zebedee before being called by Jesus to be disciples (Matt 4:21-22).
Philip - From the same town as Peter and Andrew (John 1:44): we know he also told Bartholomew (Nathanael) about Jesus (John 1:45).
Bartholomew (Nathanael) – Just like Simon (Peter) and Matthew (Levi) he had two names. While called Bartholomew in every list of the 12, we know he is also Nathanael (John 1:45-51).
Matthew (Levi) - like Simon (Peter) and Bartholomew (Nathanael) he had two names. We know that he was a tax collector before Jesus called him to be a disciple (Mark 2:13-14).
Thomas - little is known about Thomas, but he is well known for doubting the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas said that unless he saw and touched Jesus wounds, he wouldn’t believe the others had seen him alive. Jesus did appear and allowed Thomas to touch his wounds. This led to the term we use today: “doubting Thomas” (John 4:24-31)
James (son of Alphaeus) - described as being the son of Alphaeus, likely to distinguish him from James, the brother of John.
Simon the Zealot - Simon was called the Zealot because it would help distinguish between him and Simon (Peter), but also because a Zealot was a political party at the time. They were a group that very strongly wanted the Jews to be free of the Romans, and we know that before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Simon belonged to that party.
Judas son of James (Thaddeus) - In Matthew and Mark he is called Thaddeus (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18) but he is the same person. Being called son of James was likely to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot.
Judas Iscariot - We know him to be the one who betrayed Jesus, which is why he is referred to as the traitor (Matt 26:14-16). We know that he was in charging of the money bag for the disciples and that he stole from it (John 12:6). Iscariot means “man of Kerioth” which was likely the town he was originally from.