Leaders in various places have followers. There have been many leaders whose leadership style inspires their followers to be loyal and committed to them. For Christians, Jesus Christ is our leader. While Jesus was on earth, He had twelve apostles. The apostles multiplied their number and today there are many followers of Jesus. These apostles are described by their behaviour during their lifetime with Jesus. Anyone who has surrendered their life to Jesus must accept Him not just as Saviour but also as Lord. It is when we allow Jesus to work in us through the Holy Spirit that we can be called true followers of Jesus.

In this article, we shall learn some lessons from the lives of four of Jesus’ disciples: We will see how their weakness was turned into strength, their love for their Master, their betrayal of trust and their commitment to the Great Commission. If you are not a follower of Jesus indeed, this is another opportunity to learn of Him and follow Him. Your life will not be condemned by the lessons, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Peter: The Outspoken Leader

Peter was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He was an outspoken one(a person who is frank, bold and speaks without fear) among the disciples (Luke 9:20; Luke 9: 33). Though he was weak to defend Jesus at His trial and suffering, after the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus called him into the responsibility of speaking His word with boldness. By that, we can describe him as one of the leaders of the early church. His experience with the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost came with a responsibility to

In Acts 1:15-26; and 2:14-16, after Jesus ascended to heaven, eleven of His disciples (excluding Judas Iscariot) returned to Jerusalem. There, Peter stood among the believers, about one hundred and twenty people, and spoke clearly about the need to replace Judas Iscariot. He reminded those present that Judas Iscariot fulfilled what was said about him in the Scriptures a long time ago. ‘Thereafter, Peter gave the disciples the criterion for the choice of who to replace Judas. The person must have been part of them since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth up to the point of His ascension. The disciples chose two persons: Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias. After praying and casting a lot, the lot fell on Matthias.

In the second passage, Peter was bold to reply to the people who came to worship in the synagogue that they(disciples)were not drunk. They could not be drunk because it was just nine in the morning. Their experience was just a fulfilment of the coming of the Holy Spirit as said by Jesus before His death (Acts 1:8). He was able to organise his speech in an orderly manner. He specifically mentioned that Prophet Joel had spoken about what the people saw. Peter was bold and articulate. He did not speak out for the followers of Jesus. Open your Bibles to Acts 1:15-26; and Acts 2:14-16 to see how he discharged leadership responsibility. longer timid but courageous in speech. What are markable turnaround for Peter!

Practical lesson: God has given you skills which you need to discover. God used Peter’s outspokenness to make him a bold leader of the disciples and the early church. God has put some good virtues inside you. Discover them and use them for His glory. But if you know any weakness, talk to God about it and He will help you by the power of the Holy Spirit to turn it into strength. Bow your hearts as we pray

John: The Beloved

Life is not as bad as it seems. We only need love for one another so that we can trust one another. The following sort of drama will explain more bout the personality of John: the Beloved.

Read John 13:21-26; 19:25-27.

(Chief Frank and three Discussants)

Chief Frank: Why was Jesus troubled in spite?

Discussant 1 (Emmanuel): Jesus was troubled in spirit because He knew that one of His disciples would betray Him.

Chief Frank: What does it mean to betray?

Discussant 2 (Raphael): According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English, to betray simply means ‘to be disloyal to someone.’ It could also mean helping an enemy against a friend.

Chief Frank: Jesus did not mention the name of the disciple who will betray Him. Who attempted to find out, and how did he go about it?

Discussant 3 (Desire): Simon Peter tried to find out whom Jesus Christ was talking about. So, he asked the disciples whom Jesus loved.

Chief Frank: Who was called Jesus’ beloved among the twelve disciples?

Discussant 1 (Emmanuel): John was one of the twelve disciples and he was referred to as John the beloved. At this dinner, he was leaning his back against Jesus.

Chief Frank: What was Jesus’ response to John the Beloved’s question?

Discussant 2 (Raphael): Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish. ‘Jesus dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

Chief Frank: Jesus Christ gave John the beloved another major assignment before He died. What was it?

Discussant 3 (Desire): The mother of Jesus was near the cross when He was crucified. John the Beloved was also there. Though Jesus was in pain, He told John, the beloved, to take care of His mother. Likewise, He told His mother to accept John the beloved as her new son.

Chief Frank: How did John the Beloved respond to this assignment?

Discussant 1 (Emmanuel): John the Beloved took the mother of Jesus into his home from that time on.

Chief Frank: Mention three lessons children can learn from John the Beloved.

Discussant 2 (Raphael): Though John the Beloved was close to Jesus, he did not betray Jesus. Also, he did not use his closeness to Jesus Christ, their Master, against the other disciples. In addition, he was a true disciple as he was with Jesus till death and took care of Jesus’ mother after His death.

Chief Frank: Thank you all for your contributions to John the Beloved. May God help us all to love Jesus in words and deeds. Amen.

Practical Lesson: Among the disciples of Jesus are two whose relationships with Jesus are opposite. One is a beloved; the other is a betrayer. As children of God, you should choose to love Jesus. Decide to be Jesus’ friend and love Him with all your heart, mind and strength. Do not just follow Jesus; be a true beloved of Jesus by the way you live. Give children the opportunity to examine themselves and make amendments where necessary. Pray that God will grant them the grace to stand by their decision.

Philip: The Evangelist

Thomas is now a committed child of God. He compares his life before surrendering it to Jesus and thereafter. Thomas is always grateful to God for the difference and for using his friend, Emeka, to tell him about Christ. He remembered the day Emeka came to him and spoke about Jesus Christ. He laughed at him, ignored him, and called him ‘SU’. Emeka never gave up on him until he finally met Jesus. Today, we shall learn about another follower of Jesus, Philip, through a drama. Pay attention and watch carefully to see how he invited his friend, Nathanael to Jesus.

Read John 1:43-51.

Cast: Three children

(Jesus was about to leave for Galilee when He saw Philip.)

Jesus ( to Philip)’ Come with me.’

Philip: (To Nathanael) We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law and about whom the prophets also wrote- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Nathanael: Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?

Philip: ‘Come and see.’

Jesus: (As Nathanael approached Him) Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.

Nathanael: How do you know me?

Jesus: I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.

Nathanael: Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.

Jesus: Nathanael, you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.

Jesus: Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man.

Practical Lesson: It was Philip that Jesus called when He was leaving Galilee. Philip then went to find Nathanael to bring him to Jesus Philp knew who Jesus was and wanted to introduce Nathanael to Jesus. Can you follow the good example of Philip? He loves to bring others to Jesus. No wonder, when persecution broke out in the early church, he went to Samaria to preach and through him, the Ethiopian eunuch was saved. Would you introduce your friends to Jesus? Do you love to tell others about Jesus? Make a decision today to emulate this good virtue in Philip and God will be happy with you. What is your decision?

Judas: The Treasurer

Read John 12:1-8.

There lived three siblings who were friends with Jesus Christ. Their names are Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (the one Jesus raised from death). They lived in a town called Bethany. Six days before the Passover, Jesus visited them, and dinner was prepared in His honour. Martha served everybody while Lazarus relaxed with Jesus at the table. Mary brought about half a litre of expensive perfume for Jesus.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot, frowned at Mary’s action. He was the disciples’ treasurer (a keeper of the money bag). Judas Iscariot said it was a waste of money. He felt the perfume should have been sold and the money should be used to care for the poor. Judas Iscariot was said to have mentioned this out of a selfish heart and not that he loved the poor. He had been helping himself with the money kept in his care. Jesus stopped Judas Iscariot from further complaints and commended Mary for the honour.

Judas Iscariot was unfaithful and not trustworthy as a follower of Jesus and the disciples’ treasurer. He did not follow Jesus to the end as other disciples did. Little wonder, he betrayed his Master for just thirty shekels of silver.

Practical Lesson: Even though Jesus chose Judas to be one of His followers, he chose to be an unworthy disciple. He was put in charge of money but he was unfaithful and untruthful despite being a follower of Jesus. The fact is that going to church or having Christian parents does not make one a genuine child of God. You have to accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of the Spirit in you. By that, your life will be exemplary to others, especially children.