Bible Lessons for the Little Ones

(Read Matt. 4:12-2512Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. 23And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan. (Matthew 4:12‑25); Luke 3:19-2019But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. (Luke 3:19‑20).)
WE are told in the first and second chapters of the Gospel of John of some things which happened after the temptation of the Lord Jesus was ended, and before He went on the journey to Galilee of which you have just read. See whether you can find any of those things. It was then that many who were afterward disciples of Jesus first came to know Him. A disciple means a scholar, one who learns of another who is his teacher. The youngest child may be a disciple of Christ, and learn of Him, and the oldest man is not too old to go on learning more and more in His school.
Two of those of whom we read in the thirty-seventh verse of the first chapter of John had been disciples of John the Baptist; but when they heard him speak about Jesus, they left their old teacher and followed Him. John was glad to see them follow Jesus; some time afterward he said, in speaking of Christ and of himself, "He must increase, but I must decrease.”
It was because of these beautiful words, "Behold the Lamb of God!" which John spoke, that Andrew and the other disciple of John followed Jesus. I am sure even you who are only very little ones could learn to repeat them. Those who are older will be able to count and see how many disciples of the Lord Jesus we read of in this chapter. Some were brought to Him, and one He found. Yes, there were five: Andrew and his brother Simon, whom Jesus called Peter; Philip, who belonged to the same town on the shore of the sea of Galilee; Nathanael, from the village of Cana; and the other disciple of John whose name we are not told.
It was in Cana of Galilee, where Nathanael's home was, that the Lord Jesus did that "beginning of miracles" of which we read in the next chapter. Afterward He went to Jerusalem, at the time of the passover. Ask someone to show you upon a map the way by which the Lord traveled from Capernaum to Jerusalem.
If those children who can draw and write a little would make a map of their own of the three great divisions of the Holy Land, it would help them very much in understanding what they read about the places which are mentioned in this Gospel.
It was when the Lord was in Judaea that He heard that John was cast into prison, and He departed into Galilee. The fourth chapter of John tells us by which way He traveled. He went through Samaria. Look at the map, and you will see that this country lies between Judæa and Galilee. If you look again carefully you will see a city of Samaria called Sychar, where the Lord sat, weary with His journey, on Jacob's Well, and spoke to a woman of the place of the water which He would give. You remember that He called that water "living water." How well it was for that poor woman that He who was Himself the gift of God passed through Samaria on His way to Galilee!
Now find Nazareth. You remember that that town was the place in which Jesus was brought up; He went there first, and then "came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is on the sea coast." This town was distant a day's journey from Nazareth. The Lord was now in the very country of which God's prophet Isaiah had spoken many, many years before. He said, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light," and this saying came to pass when the poor, despised people in "Galilee of the Gentiles" had Him who was the "true Light" among them, preaching to them, and saying, "Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
It was as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee that He saw the brothers Simon and Andrew, fishing. "Follow Me," He said to them, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once Andrew and Peter left their nets and followed Jesus, and so did the two other brothers, James and John, who were in the boat with their father, mending their nets, when they heard the voice of Jesus calling them; for they cared so much to be with Him that they were glad to leave everything else that they might follow Him.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues." I remember hearing a little boy of four years old ask, "What is a synagogue, father?" Perhaps some children who have read this verse may not know that in the time when the Lord Jesus was on earth every Jewish town had a sort of church, which was built on a hill, so that it could be seen from a distance.
People went to the synagogue every Sabbath day—you know that was every Saturday—and also on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Parts of the Old Testament were read, and prayers were said, while all the people answered "Amen." See whether you can find the chapter in the prophecy of Isaiah, part of which the Lord Jesus read in the synagogue of Nazareth.
But the Lord Jesus, as He went about all Galilee, not only preached, but cured every kind of sickness among the people. Wherever He went, in this sad world, He found sorrow, and the trouble which sin had brought; wherever He went He brought blessing and healing, health and cure. No wonder that great multitudes followed Him. If you had lived then and had had anything the matter with you, do you not think your father and mother would have carried you a long way, if only they could at last have brought you where the Lord Jesus was, and laid you down at His feet, that He might cure you?