The First Four Disciples

Carol Wehrheim tells the story of Jesus and the calling of his first four disciples. The Time with Children in the worship service at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ, focuses on telling Bible stories to the congregation. Storytellers from the church bring these stories to life with dramatic flair.


After John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, Jesus had work to do for God. And right away, Jesus knew he was going to need some help. He needed help. He needed people to travel with him, he needed people he could teach, and he needed people who would help him do the work of God. Where was he going to find this help? 

One day Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee. It was a beautiful sunny day; the clouds were moving slowly across the sky, the sun was shining on the water. It almost looked like diamonds sparkling. Jesus looked out and he saw a fishing boat, and in the fishing boat were two men. And he watched as they threw the big net out into the water, and after a little while they pulled it back in. It was heavy with fish. They were very good at fishing. 

Jesus kept going and that boat with the two men came up to the shore. They got out and Jesus said to them, “Come with me. You won’t be fishing for fish; you will be fishing for people.” Would you believe it? Those two men, Simon and Andrew left their boat, and their fishing net, and all the fish they caught, and went with Jesus. 

The three of them walked along the sea some more and they came to another boat, but this one was not out catching fish. This was sitting on shore. And in that boat were James and John, and their father Zebedee and some other workers, and they were mending the fishing net because sometimes when you throw that net out into the water and it goes to the bottom, it gets caught on a rock and a hole is torn in it and then all the fish swim out. Not a very good way to catch fish, is it? So, they were sitting there tying together the big holes; tying really tight knots so those big holes wouldn’t be in their fishing net. And Jesus invited James and John to come with him. And they did. They left their father Zebedee, and the workers all repairing the nets at the boat. 

So now Jesus had four people: Simon, Andrew, James and John. The first four followers, the first four he would teach. The first four disciples who would help him do God’s work. But do you know? Today there are billions of people around the world who follow Jesus and do God’s work. And we, all of us, are part of them.

Let’s pray. Loving God, we give you thanks that we can come here every Sunday to worship you and to learn how to follow Jesus today. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen. 

Storyteller: Carol Wehrheim

Text: Matthew 4:18-22

Read about Time with Children
Nassau Presbyterian Church, 2014

Carol Wehrheim is a member of Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton, NJ, where she is Clerk of Session. She is the author of Getting It Together, Giving Together, and The Baptism of Your Child: A Book for Presbyterian Families as well as the three volumes of Feasting on the Word Children’s Sermons (Bible stories from the lectionary for telling in worship).