This is a plan you can do alone or with the kiddies. In honor of Jesus’s birth this plan will count down the 12 days before Christmas. This plan is dedicated to learning Jesus’s 12 disciples. A disciple is a person that follows Jesus and his teachings. These 12 men have personally experienced the work of God with their own lives, and they have written about their experiences in The Bible. After Jesus ascended, they continued spreading the good news of Jesus. Although, these men were follower’s of Christ they were human just like us. Find out which disciple denied Jesus 3x, touched Jesus wounds or walked on water! Each story has a message, that will help you to get to know Jesus and grow in faith.
- Simon Peter
John The Apostle from Patmos
- Known as “The beloved Disciple”
- He was a fishermen on the Sea of Galilee when he first encountered Jesus
- His brother was James, who was also a Disciple of Jesus
- He Wrote the chapters of John, 1 John, 2 John and Revelation.
- He spoke the word of Jesus in churches of Asia Minor.
The book of Revelation is powerful. John reminds us that the end times are near. Those that know Jesus will be glad, but those that do not know him will be afraid. This chapter is written as a revelation from Jesus, which God gave him to show his servants what will happen in the end times. Jesus sent an angel to explain this revelation to John and John wrote everything that he saw. John states that he was in the Spirit when he witnessed these visions.
Revelation beings with Jesus telling John to write a letter to 7 different churches (1:11). Jesus was able to use John to speak through and deliver His message. The letters to each church was written in red ink (NIV) to show that Jesus is speaking. Jesus keeps it real with the churches and encourages them to grow in faith. Later on, John explains what it is like to be in heaven. The lamb he refers to is Jesus Christ. He explains seeing the different color horses and what they symbolized. He speaks about the six seals, and what unfolded under each seal.
John speaks about the war in heaven between the angels. The dragon he is referring to is The devil, the one deceiving the world. Since, they lost the battle Satan and his angels were kicked out of heaven, and now he lurks on earth. Jon encourages us to remain in God’s word and to seek wisdom. Revelation continues by explaining the events that lead up to judgement day, the defeat of Satan and reminds us that Jesus is coming.
A tool for understanding Revelation is to lean not on your own understanding. We are not able to make sense of things such as a dragon with 7 heavens, simple because we have never seen one. We have to turn our imagination switch on and think bigger than our reality. Heaven is a completely different realm, that no human has experienced. John described the woman as being clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars! That is difficult to imagine because our minds are limited. The experience of John confirmed that Heaven exists. John was an amazing writer who Jesus loved very much.
I encourage you to read the chapter of John 1,2,and 3. These chapters are short stories with BIG information. Remember to pray before you read, and ask God to reveal the meanings behind the word and not to create your own sense.
Peter The Apostle Simon
- Known as the disciple that denied Jesus 3x
- His brother was Andrew, another disciple of Jesus.
- He walked on water
- Author of 1 Peter and 2 Peter
- Jesus changed his name to Cephas, which means “rock” [John 1:42]
Message from Peter:
“Then Peter began to speak: I know realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” -Acts 10:24
Peter and his fishermen crew witnessed the work of Jesus themselves. While being out on sea all day, Peter had no luck catching any fish. The moment Jesus entered his boat and told him to throw the net back out, they caught so much fish their boats began to sink. That day, Peter left everything he had to follow Jesus and walk in his ways. [Luke 5:1-7]
In the letters Peter wrote he reminds us to keep our hope in Jesus Christ and to live holy lives amongst unbelievers.
Andrew The Apostle
- His Brother is Peter
- He worked as Fisherman with his brother, John and James in the sea of Galilee
- He was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus
- He followed John The Baptist
- He was from the town of Bethsaida
In the story of Jesus’s feeding 5,000 people, Andrew was there to help. Jesus wanted to test Philip (a disciple of Christ) and ask him where will they find food to feed everyone. Philip responded and said it would take half a year to save enough money to buy food for everyone. However, Andrew responded and said “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down” And, just like that Jesus was able to feed five thousand people!
Jesus predicted his death to Andrew and Philip. Jesus said “Whoever serves me must follow me and where I am, my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me. Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Jesus decided to share this information with his disciples to remind them of his purpose here on earth, to die on the cross for the sins of the world. [John 12:20-36]
James The Apostle
- He was a fishermen like his father and Brother, John
- Wrote the book of James (a letter to the 12 Tribes of Jewish leaders)
- Half brother of Jesus
- Leader in the Jerusalem Church
- He witnessed Jesus heal Jarius’ daughter
- He was at Jesus transfiguration and at the Garden of Gethsemane before they arrested Jesus
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from The Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” – James 1:2
He is reminding us to Smile With Faith! When we are experiencing hardships and obstacles in our life, that is when God is at work. He does not challenge us with anything we cant bare. Life struggles build our character and prepare us for the next phase in our lives that God wants to take us too. God’s plan for our lives are to prosper and be happy. Tough times do not last, tough people do. We will overcome and soon realize why it was all worth it. When you are at your lowest, your faith needs to be the strongest. Things do not unfold the times we want because God’s time is the perfect time. James reminds us that if we ask God, we shall receive it, but only if we believe. God will know if we doubt or do not believe. We can not fool The Lord. Have complete and full confidence that God is listening and will answer your prayers. . . He is a faithful God.
Philip he Apostle
- He is from Bethsaida in Galilee, as John, Peter, Andrew and James were.
- Jesus predicted His own death to Phillip
- He preached in the city of Samaria and proclaimed that Jesus was The Messiah [Acts 8:4]
- He created miracles and healed people that were paralyzed [Acts 8:6]
- He had 4 unmarried daughter that had the gift of prophecy [Acts 21:9]
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, is is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, and I will do it” -John 14:8-14. . . I recommend to read this story till the end of the chapter [John 14:15-31]. Jesus teaches us so much wisdom! The question asked by Philip was an important one. Jesus stats clearly that he does not speak from his own mind but rather God speaks through him. Jesus explains that The Lord’s Spirit dwells within him, and we can tell not because he says so, but because his actions prove it. Jesus reminds us that believers can ask for anything they want, and He will do it. How amazing is that?!
The Lord sent an angel to guide Philip, and sent him from Jerusalem to Gaza. The Spirit lead him to an Ethiopian man who was reading The book of Isaiah the Prophet, while he was sitting in his chariot. When Philip seen him reading he asked the man, “Do you understand what you are ready? and the man replied “How can I? unless someone explains it to me” Philip entered the chariot and helped the man understand the scripture and told him the good news about Jesus! [Acts 8:26] These couple of verses are very powerful. Some people do not like reading The Bible because they do not understand the parables or vocabulary. The context of The Bible can be overwhelming, especially if you do not have any previous history knowledge. Before we read God’s word, we must always pray for The Spirit within us to help guide us and clarify things, because if we read it with our own ideas and perceptions we can be mislead or find it difficult to comprehend. If you can not understand God’s word, than how can you live by it? Do not let the words intimidate you, but instead ask God for clarification and wisdom. He always answers !
Bartholomew The Apostle
- He is also known as Nathanael
- Philip introduced him to Jesus
- He was skeptical of Jesus, at first
- He preached in India and Armenia
- He witnessed the Ascension of Jesus
Jesus: “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit“
Nathanael: “How do you know me?”
Jesus Answered: “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you“
Nathanael declared: “You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel”
Jesus: “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that. Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” – John 1: 47-51
This is an amazing dialogue between Bartholomew and Jesus. Jesus knew who he was before they met. Bartholomew was amazed because he knew that no one was there wit him and if Jesus knew it was because God told him. Bartholomew knew that he was the Son of God, not because Jesus told him, but because God revealed it to him. Jesus was a man of action. He did not have to go around telling people he was the Son of God, instead he wanted God to reveal it to them so they could believe. Jesus explained to Bartholomew of His resurrection and how he would be taken up to Heaven [Acts 1:1]
Matthew The Apostle
- Also known as Levi
- He worked as a Tax collector (Tax collectors had a bad reputation, and people did not like them)
- Wrote the first Gospel in the new testament and is 28 chapters long (Mark + Luke + John = 4 Gospels)
- He quotes from the Old testament more than any other of the Gospel writers
- He was a gifted writer
The first chapter of Matthew describes The genealogy of Jesus the Messiah. He also explains how Joseph accepted Jesus as His son, which wasn’t easy. When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, needless to say he was in shock because he knew he was not the father. Joseph was hurt and felt betrayed which lead him to secretly divorce her. One night while Joseph was sleeping, he had a dream and an angel of The Lord said “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from The Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” [Matthew 1:20] Once he woke up, he listened to the angel, and took Mary home as his wife.
Tax collectors were known as greedy and corrupt. They would charge more than required to fill their pockets. . Matthew was one of these dishonest tax collectors. Despite his profession and old ways, he dropped everything to follow Jesus. He left a life of wealth for poverty. He believed in Jesus and wanted to walk with him. He was loyal to Jesus from Day 1. Matthew continued preaching the good news of the gospel, long after Jesus left the earth. Because he was willing, God was able to use Matthew for his work. The moral of the story, it does not matter who or what we did before Jesus. The moment we give our life to Jesus and follow him. God no longer sees who we used to be. When we chose to believe in Jesus, God is able to use us and will begin working in our lives.
Thomas The Apostle
- also known as ‘Didymus’ which means twin in greek
- referred to as “Doubting Thomas” because he did not believe in Jesus’s resurrection
- He only believed if he himself could see and touch Jesus Christ
- He inspected the wounds of Jesus
- He is talked about in the Gospel of John
The other disciples told Thomas that they have seen the lord. However, Thomas said to them “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails in his hands were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” [John 20:25]. A week later all of the disciples including Thomas were in the house. The doors in the house were locked, but Jesus appeared right there with them. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” At that moment, Thomas knew that Jesus was Lord and Savior. Jesus told Thomas “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [John 20:27-29]
This is an amazing encounter Thomas had with Jesus. Thomas is relatable to a lot of people in this world. It is difficult to believe in something we can not see, but that is where faith comes along. Thomas needed to see for himself in order to believe, but Jesus said blessed are those who have not seen but still believe. Just as the wind, we can not see but we can feel the breeze. Jesus is alive and active and we can not see His Spirit but we can feel it.
Thaddeus The Apostle
- also known as ‘Lebbaeus’
- Preached the Gospel as a missionary after the resurrection of Jesus
- remained loyal to Christ through hardships and persecution
- sometimes referred to as Judas, son of James or Jude
- taught inArmenia, Syria and Persia
“Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the twelve to him, he began to sent them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” [Mark 6:7] The disciples preached that people should repent for their sins and be forgiven. They had the power to drive out demons and healed many sick people. Jesus told his disciples to leave all their belongings behind. That is a difficult thing to do. No money, no clothes and no food. Jesus shows us that truly, we do not need anything other than God himself to survive. We can take this verse and apply it to ourselves. If we have 100% faith and believe that God will provide for us, than we do not need to worry about materialistic things.
Jesus + nothing = Everything but Everything – Jesus = Nothing
James The Apostle
- the son of Alphaeus
- also known as “James the less” or “James the younger”
- His mother Mary, who was an eye witness in Jesus crucifixion
- After Jesus resurrection he appeared to James first [1 Corinthians 15:7]
- His brother was Jose, whose name is mentioned repeatedly
“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: Do not go among the Gentiles or enter and town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lose sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The Kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead. cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” [Matthew 10:5-8] Jesus continues telling the disciples what to be aware of, how to remain strong in faith and who to preach too. Jesus prepares the disciples to go out into the world and remain safe while speaking his message. He informs them not to worry about getting arrested because if the time goes they will know what to say in the moment.
Jesus lets his disciples know not to be afraid. Do not be afraid of people who kill, because they can only kill the body and not the soul. The words that Jesus spoke to James and the disciples is powerful and heartfelt. There are many things that we can take from this message and apply in our lives. Jesus continues speaking from Matthew 10:5-8 until verse 42. While we are living our daily lives we must never be afraid. We have the holy Spirit and God’s grace, so there is nothing that can stand in your way! Fear not for Victory is already won! Thank-you Jesus !
Judas The Apostle
- known as the one that betrayed Jesus
- died of suicide
- He was a thief
- Judas lead guards to where Jesus was so they could kill him
- Judas identified Jesus to the guards by kissing him on the cheek
“He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” – John 12:6 This verse lets us know what type of person Judas was. He would take from the proud and greed controlled his actions. Although, Judas had his flaws, Jesus seen something in him. This is a reminder to all of us, that no matter what we have done, Jesus loves us. Jesus seen potential in Judas, before Judas even knew. We have to see ourselves the way Christ does, and do our best to follow Jesus.
“Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” John 6:70, Jesus is referring to Judas. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. In Matthew 20:17, we read that Jesus predicted his death for the third time. This let’s us know that no matter what we do, we can not hide our true intentions from The Lord, because he is all knowing. We must always run toward God, not away from him. God does not judge, and he loves us very much. Do not let your emotions keep you away from God, there is nothing in this universe that can separate God’s love from us.
If God is for us, who can be against us? –Romans 8:31
Simon The Apostle Zealot
- The King James version refers to him by Simon the Canaanite
- He went to the upper room with Jesus and the other apostles after Jesus went to Heaven
- He is not referenced in the bible other than when his name is listed as 1 of the 12 disciples
- It is said that He taught the Gospel in Egypt after Jesus ascension
- His name appears in Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:8, Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13
Although not much is known of him, we know that he was a follower of Christ. He devoted his life to leading others to God. He left his old ways, and life to be made new through Jesus. Because of his name some have said that he was a member of The Zealots, which was a political group that rebelled against the Roman empire. Some have also said that his name Simon The Zealot to distinguish him from other Simons. Whatever the case is, we know that Jesus picked him to be a disciple. He was a man of mystery on a mission for righteousness. Unlike the other apostles there are no encounters within the bible of Him talking to Jesus or anyone else, so we are unable to truly know who Simon was. It is better for us to let our actions speak louder than us. Simon was a disciple of Christ, and His actions speak more than words ever could.