To help each child have greater love and respect for the Apostles Jesus Christ calls to be his special witnesses.
Prayerfully study Matthew 4:18–22, Luke 5:1–11, 6:12–16, Matthew 16:13–19, Mark 3:13–19, 16:15, Acts 10:39–43, 3 Nephi 12:1–2, and Doctrine and Covenants 107:23. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture account (see “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii).
Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.
A Bible or a New Testament for each child.
Several copies of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Sixth Article of Faith chart (65006).
Pictures 7-10, Jesus and the Fishermen (Gospel Art Picture Kit 209; 62496), and 7-11, Christ Ordaining the Apostles (Gospel Art Picture Kit 211; 62557), and also pictures of the current Apostles (64329–64378. If the pictures are not in your meetinghouse library, see a recent conference issue of a Church magazine).
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Write the following scripture references on the chalkboard:
Have the children look up the references to find an important word that is found in each one. You may want to have the children work together in groups of two or three. If they need help, tell them the word starts with the letter A (Apostle).
Have a child read Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 to the class to find out why an Apostle is an important servant of the Lord.
Showing the pictures at appropriate times, teach the accounts of Jesus calling his disciples (Matthew 4:18–22; Luke 5:1–11) and later the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16). (For suggested ways to teach the scripture accounts, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.)
As you teach these accounts, make sure the children understand that Jesus had many followers, called disciples. When he first called Peter, Andrew, James, and John from their fishing boats, he was calling them to be disciples. From his larger group of disciples he chose twelve men to be his Apostles (see Luke 6:13). He ordained them the same way Apostles are ordained today, by the laying on of hands, and gave them the same authority Apostles have today (see Mark 3:13–15).
Discussion and Application Questions
Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.
How did Peter, Andrew, James, and John respond when Jesus told them to follow him? (Matthew 4:19–22.) Explain that straightway means immediately. How did their response show that they believed that Jesus was the Christ? (Note that the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 4:18 states that Jesus told them who he was before he asked them to follow him.) Why is it important for us to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?
What did Jesus tell Simon to do with his nets? (Luke 5:4.) (Explain that Simon, Simon Peter, and Peter are all the same person.) Why did Simon question doing what Jesus asked? (Luke 5:5.) What happened? (Luke 5:6–7.) Why did this event help the disciples have greater faith in Jesus? (Luke 5:8–10.) What did Peter, James, and John do to prove that they had faith in Jesus? (Luke 5:11.) How can we show that we follow Jesus Christ?
How long did Jesus pray before calling his Apostles? (Luke 6:12.) Why do you think Jesus prayed before making this important decision? Who calls Apostles today? (Heavenly Father instructs the First Presidency through inspiration.)
The scriptures speak of disciples and Apostles. What is the difference between a disciple and an Apostle? (Luke 6:13.)
Explain that a disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ. An Apostle is one of a select group of men who is ordained as a special witness of Jesus Christ to all the world. He testifies that Jesus is the Son of God and that he was resurrected. He makes sure the gospel is preached everywhere in the world. (See Mark 16:15 and D&C 107:23.)
Are you a disciple or an Apostle?
What does it mean to be a special witness of Jesus Christ? (Acts 4:33; 10:39–43; D&C 107:23.) How did Peter witness that Jesus was the Christ? (Matthew 16:13–17.) What did Jesus promise Peter because of Peter’s testimony? (Matthew 16:18–19.) Help the children understand that the “keys of the kingdom” are the authority the Apostles have to do Heavenly Father’s and Jesus’ work here on earth. The account of Peter, James, and John receiving these promised keys on the Mount of Transfiguration will be discussed in lesson 15.
How do Apostles witness that Jesus is the Christ today?
Tell the following account of Elder David B. Haight, an Apostle of the Lord:
“The evening of my health crisis, I knew something very serious had happened to me. … I was pleading to my Heavenly Father to spare my life a while longer to give me a little more time to do His work, if it was His will.
“While still praying, I began to lose consciousness. The siren of the paramedic truck was the last that I remembered before unconsciousness overtook me, which would last for the next several days.
“The terrible pain and commotion of people ceased. I was now in a calm, peaceful setting; all was serene and quiet. …
“I heard no voices but was conscious of being in a holy presence and atmosphere. During the hours and days that followed, there was impressed again and again upon my mind the eternal mission and exalted position of the Son of Man. I witness to you that He is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, Savior to all, Redeemer of all mankind, Bestower of infinite love, mercy, and forgiveness, the Light and Life of the world. I knew this truth before—I had never doubted nor wondered. But now I knew, because of the impressions of the Spirit upon my heart and soul, these divine truths in a most unusual way.
“I was shown a panoramic view of His earthly ministry: His baptism, His teaching, His healing the sick and lame, the mock trial, His crucifixion, His resurrection and ascension. There followed scenes of His earthly ministry to my mind in impressive detail, confirming scripture eyewitness accounts. I was being taught, and the eyes of my understanding were opened by the Holy Spirit of God so as to behold many things” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, p. 73; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, pp. 59–60).
Who are the Apostles on the earth today?
Identify the names of the men in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Tell something you know about the current Apostles, perhaps focusing on one who has recently visited or will soon visit your area.
How are our lives blessed when we listen to the counsel of the Apostles? (3 Nephi 12:1–2.)
Article of Faith
Help the children memorize the sixth article of faith.
You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.
Bring to class individual pictures of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles. Write their names on separate pieces of paper and have the children match the names and pictures and then arrange them in order of seniority. If individual pictures are not available, have the children arrange the names in order of seniority. Let each child have a turn.
List and discuss the names of the Twelve Apostles Jesus called. (Luke 6:12–16.)
Using recent conference reports or conference issues of Church magazines, have the children find the talks given by the Apostles. Ask them to find the places in these talks where the Apostles declared their special witness of Jesus Christ (these are often at the end of their speeches).
Share with the children your gratitude for Apostles, and tell how your life has been blessed when you followed their counsel. Bear your witness that Jesus calls Apostles, through the living prophet, to witness His name and preach the gospel to all the world.
Suggested Home Reading
Suggest that the children study Matthew 4:18–22 at home as a review of this lesson.
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.