Jesus’ calling of the disciples displayed the attribute of grace. When you look at this unique group of men he chose, there isn’t anything special about them. They weren’t obvious choices, and yet, they were Jesus’ choices. Due to that reason, they would develop into what Christ had called them to be.

DOWNLOAD HANDOUT – 09 – Disciples




  • Mark 3:13-19
  • Luke 6:12-16


  1. Progression
    1. They started out as disciples. “Disciple” means “student” or “learner.”
    2. They became apostles. “Apostle” means “messengers” or “sent out ones.”
    3. It appears as if they were disciples before Jesus asked them to leave everything and follow him.
  2. Steps (Luke 6:12; Mark 3:13-19)
    1. Learn from him.
    2. Leave everything behind.
    3. Be with him.
    4. Be trained.
    5. Be sent out.


  1. The Members of the 12
    1. They were hundreds of disciples of Jesus but only 12 that he called out for specific service.
    2. Within the 12, they did not all experience the same level of intimacy with Jesus.
    3. Jesus was most likely criticized for playing favorites.
    4. The number 12 was significant.
      1. The 12 disciples in the New Testament mirrored the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament.
      2. The New Jerusalem has a wall with twelve foundations, “and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14; cf. Eph. 3:20).
      3. Heaven is described as the Lamb “standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of the Father written on their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1).
      4. Who is the 12th Apostle?
        1. Judas – “And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5).
        2. Matthias – “And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26).
        3. Paul – “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days” (Gal. 1:18).
  2. The Groups of the 12
    1. Within the biblical accounts, there are two disciples with varying names.
    2. Each list is also unique concerning its ordering.
    3. The names and orders change, but they are always consistent in 3 groups of 4.
    4. Every quartet always starts with the same name in every list indicating that they may have served as a leader within the smaller group.


  1. Peter
    1. Jesus names him Peter (“rock”) indicating the type of person he wants him to be.
    2. His original name was Simon; Jesus used it when Peter was acting like his old self.
    3. He was a fisherman.
    4. His brother Andrew brought him to Jesus.
    5. He was the leader of the group; the dominant leader and preacher in the first half of Acts.
    6. He was known for putting his foot in his mouth.
  2. Andrew
    1. He was originally a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42).
    2. He brought his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:40-42).
    3. Andrew was the one who brought the boy with the loaves and fish to Jesus (John 6:8-9).
  3. James
    1. He was the son of Zebedee (father must have been important to be mentioned).
    2. He was given the nickname (with his brother John) “Boanerges” which means “the sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).
    3. He wanted to command fire to come down and consume people who did not receive Christ (Luke 9:52-56).
    4. His mother was also involved in trying to elevate their status (Matt. 21:20-23).
    5. He was a fisherman in business with his brother, Peter, and Andrew.
  4. John
    1. He was known by the High Priest (John 18:15) – is this due to personal contact, his father Zebedee, or was he the preferred fisherman?
    2. He was known as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23-25; 19:26-27; 20:1-10; 21:1-25).
    3. At Jesus’ death, he entrusts his mother Mary to John’s care (John 19:26-27).
    4. John is the only disciple whom it is believed did not have a martyr’s death (John 21:20-24).
  5. Philip
    1. He was from Bethsaida so he most likely knew the four before him.
    2. Philip was tested at the feeding of the 5000 (John 6:5-7).
    3. The Greeks desiring to see Jesus came to Philip (John 12:20-22).
    4. Philip desired to see the Father (John 14:8-11).
  6. Bartholomew
    1. Bartholomew is not a name, it means “son of Tholome;” most likely he is Nathaniel Bartholomew.
    2. He was originally skeptical of Jesus (John 1:45-51).
    3. Jesus said of him “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:47).
  7. Thomas
    1. He has a twin (John 11:6).
    2. He was known for doubting Christ’s resurrection and desiring proof (John 20:24-29).
  8. Matthew
    1. He was a hated Jewish tax collector who left everything to follow Jesus (Luke 5:27-32).
    2. He was also known as Levi, the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27).
    3. With his connections, he was a constant source of bringing sinners to Jesus.
  9. James, Son of Alphaeus
    1. We don’t really know anything about James or Alphaeus (but the father must have been important to distinguish him from others).
    2. His mother’s name is Mary, and she was at the cross (Mark 15:40).
    3. He is often referred to as James the Less or James the Younge; he serves in the shadow to more prominent James.
  10. Thaddaeus
    1. We know that he is the son of a man named James (Acts 1:13).
    2. His other name is Judas which they had obvious reasons for using an alternative name (Luke 6:16; John 14:22).
  11. Simon the Zealot
    1. He was a political revolutionary.
    2. Consider the dynamic with him and Matthew working together.
  12. Judas Iscariot
    1. He was the treasurer for the disciples and would take funds from the group (John 12:6).
    2. Satan entered him.
    3. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss for 30 shekels of silver.
    4. When overwhelmed with guilt, he tried to return the money and hung himself.
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