Turning to Jesus! Lesson One

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America

Daily Theme: Faith is believing and following Jesus

THE FISHERMAN WHO WERE CAUGHT - a story from: Mark 1:9-32, (cf. Matt 4:12-22; John 1:35-41, Luke 5:1-10) - The calling of Jesus' first disciples

Object Lesson: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Study of the different Gospel Accounts:

Use the Comparison Chart and the Chronological chart. What aspects of Jesus' ministry has Mark omitted between verses 15 and 16? Why do you think may have been his purpose for doing that? Where do we turn in the Gospels to learn about Jesus' activities up to this point? What was Jesus doing during this time?

The Chronological Chart indicates a period of 6-8 months between the time of Jesus' first contact with these disciples and his call to them to follow him.

How was the imprisonment of John the Baptizer significant for Jesus and His ministry? What kind of ministry had he carried on before? After?

Compare Matt 4:1-22 & Luke 5:1-11 with Mark 1:14-20!

Who gives us the fuller account? What is the emphasis in each Gospel? Looking at the comparative chart on the Gospels, how is each account appropriate to its particular readers and the writers' purposes?

What do you think did Jesus meant by the following expressions:

Jesus' definitions of his Gospel: Matt 4:17, Luke 5:32

The Disciples and their initial contact with Jesus.

Who were Jesus' first "called" disciples? What kind of men did Jesus chose for his disciples? What had been their experience with the Lord up until this time?

Andrew and Philip were disciples of John the Baptizer who called their attention to Jesus. John 1:35-39. John, Peter and Nathaniel were close friends and relatives they hurried to share their faith in Jesus with.

Their first statements of faith: Read these first statements of faith made by the disciples:

Who did they believe Jesus to be? How did they respond to Him?

Luke also describes the conversion and calling of Matthew (Levi) in 5:27-32. What did Jesus proclaim His ministry to be? (Cf Luke 4:17-22)

Their interaction with and growing awareness of Jesus:

Jesus was teaching the people from whose boats? What were they usually used for? Learn what you can about the boats and fishing techniques from a Bible encyclopedia or other book.

Since sound carries well over water, by addressing the crowd from the boat Jesus had an excellent amplification system. And the ones who were with him in the boat had "front row" seats to hear his teaching.

Luke describes a miracle involving the first disciples that Matthew and Mark left out. (5:1-11) What was it and how did it affect the disciples? What evidence of repentance and faith did it bring about?

What prompted Peter (and the other fishermen) to cast the nets into the water? Why was he so surprised?

Peter had good reason for skepticism - a carpenter telling him where to fish (the deep water) and probably at midday around noon. They usually fished at night in shallower water. Hence faith and doubt, trust and misgiving are battling it out.

Why do you think the miracle of the nets cause Simon so much grief? This was not the first miracle he had witnessed. (Luke 4:38,39)

What did Jesus say he would be doing from now on? (Luke 5:10,11)

Jesus' call to them to become disciples:

Jesus issued His call to them to follow him. (Mark 1:15)

What specifically did Jesus call Simon and Andrew to do? James and John?

What possibly might have hindered them from following the Lord?

James and John were to abandon their father's fishing business to become disciples. Was this right?

The enormous catch of fishes certainly took care of the needs of their families for a long time while they were disciples. This additional wealth was also left behind when they followed Him. But He had clearly shown them He could meet their needs. What else did they need besides Him?

Repentance & Faith & Discipleship

What does this passage teach you about repentance? About faith? About discipleship?

We see faith and repentance hand in hand as they leave all to follow Him. There will be many times before them when they will have to re-affirm that faith or repent of selfishness, sin or unbelief. But they have met the Lord and left all to follow Him.


What are some good things a child may have to "leave behind" when he follows Jesus?

How can a child become a "fisher of men"?

This lesson should stress that following Jesus is leaving our own interests and selfish concerns and becoming His disciples. What are some applications you can draw for yourself or for the children you will teach?

© 1989 Barry McWilliams and Mission Church Fellowship,
Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
For Permission to reproduce and use these materials and other information
Contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net