Which Disciples Called Jesus First?


When Jesus began his ministry, he called twelve men to be his disciples. These men would follow him, learn from him, and eventually become the foundation of the Christian church.

But who were the first disciples to respond to Jesus’ call In this article, we will explore which disciples called Jesus first and what we can learn from their example.

The Call of the Disciples

The call of the disciples is recorded in several passages throughout the New Testament. In Matthew 4:18-22, we read:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon also called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

In Mark 1:16-20 and Luke 5:1-11, we read similar accounts of Jesus calling his first disciples.

The First Disciples

Based on these accounts, it appears that Simon Peter and Andrew were the first disciples to be called by Jesus. They were followed closely by James and John.

  • Simon Peter: Also known as Peter or Cephas (John 1:42), he was a fisherman from Bethsaida. Peter would become one of Jesus’ closest followers and a leader in the early church. He is often remembered for his boldness and his declaration that Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 16:16).
  • Andrew: Andrew was also a fisherman from Bethsaida and was Simon Peter’s brother. He is often overlooked in comparison to his brother, but he played an important role in bringing people to Jesus (John 1:40-41).
  • James: James was the son of Zebedee and brother of John.

    Along with his brother, he became known as one of the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17) for their hot-headedness. James would go on to be the first of the apostles to be martyred (Acts 12:2).

  • John: John was the son of Zebedee and brother of James. He is often referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23) and is credited with writing several books of the New Testament.

While these four men were the first disciples called by Jesus, they were eventually joined by eight others:

  • Philip
  • Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel)
  • Matthew
  • Thomas
  • Jude (also known as Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus)
  • Simeon (also known as Simon or the Zealot)
  • Judas Iscariot

The Significance of Being Called First

It’s interesting to note that the four men who were called first by Jesus went on to become some of the most influential figures in the early church. Peter became a pillar of the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9) and was instrumental in spreading the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.

James and John were part of Jesus’ inner circle and witnessed some of his most miraculous moments, including his transfiguration (Mark 9:2-8). John would go on to write several books of the New Testament, including the Gospel of John, three epistles, and Revelation.

But being called first wasn’t a guarantee of greatness. Judas Iscariot was also one of the twelve disciples, but he would ultimately betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16).

This serves as a reminder that being called by Jesus doesn’t guarantee success or salvation. It’s up to each individual to respond to his call with faith and obedience.


Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which disciples were called first by Jesus. What matters is that they responded to his call with faith and obedience, and they went on to become part of a movement that changed the world. As followers of Christ today, we have been called to continue their work and share the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.