Peter’s Denial

February 6– March 6, 2005

Antioch Arcade


Scripture:  Matthew 26:31-35 and 57-75


Memory Verse: 

“All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” Romans 3:23 CEV


Offering:  One Great Hour of Sharing



  • We may deny our faith in Jesus, but Jesus is always faithful to us.
  • Like Peter, we can recognize our mistakes.
  • It is better to be a follower who fails than one who fails to follow.
  • Even though we all make mistakes, we can still do great things to honor God.



1.     Older children will locate the story of Peter’s denial in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Matthew.

2.     The children will play a game to reinforce their knowledge of the details of the story.

3.     The class will discuss the story in light of the concepts above.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.


2.     Open with a brief prayer (optional, as they have just prayed in Great Hall).


3.     Explain the purpose of this workshop. Today we’re going to play a game that will show how well you know the story of Peter’s denial.


Scripture/Bible Story:

1.     Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. Help the students to find the book of Matthew. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)


After they’ve found Matthew, help them find chapter 26, then verses 31-35 and 57-75. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at top of every page.


3.     Read the story from the CEV or review it using the summary below as a guide. Either way, be dramatic! Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks:


  • Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Variation for older kids: Use the timer in the supply bin (or just a watch with a second hand). First child starts telling the story. After 15 seconds, second student picks up the tale, even if in mid-sentence. Keep going around circle until complete story is told.


  • Tell the story back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you (especially fun for the younger ones -- but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation).


  • Photocopy the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up and see if they can put it back together correctly.


Grades 3-5: After reviewing the story, play a few rounds of "who can find the passage first." Call out verses for the students to search and read when they find them -- do this in pairs if you wish. Suggestions:

The other gospel accounts of Peter’s denial: Mark 14.27-31, Luke 22.31-34, John 13.36-38.

The scripture Jesus quotes: Zechariah 13:7


Story Summary

After Jesus and his disciples had the Last Supper, Jesus said to his disciples, "This very night, all of you will reject me. The Scriptures say, `I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' (Ask the class: Who is the shepherd? Who are the sheep? ) But after I am raised to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you."


Peter spoke up, "Even if all the others reject you, I never will!"


Jesus answered, "I promise you that before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don't know me."


But Peter said, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never say I don't know you."  All the others said the same thing.


Later that night, Jesus was arrested, and was taken to the house of Caiaphas the high priest. The nation's leaders and the teachers of the Law of Moses were meeting there. Peter followed along at a distance and went into the courtyard of the high priest's palace. He sat down with the guards and waited to see what was going to happen.


While Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, a servant girl came up to him and said, "You were with Jesus from Galilee."


But Peter said, "That isn't so! I don't know what you are talking about!"


Then Peter went out to the gate, where another servant girl saw him and said to some people there, "This man was with Jesus from Nazareth."


Again Peter denied it, and this time he swore, "I don't even know that man!"


A little while later some people standing there walked over to Peter and said, "We know that you are one of them, because you talk like someone from Galilee."


Peter began to curse and swear, "I don't know that man!"


Right then a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don't know me." Then Peter went out and cried.



1.     Divide the class into several teams of three to five players (you might call them the Priests, the Guards, the Disciples, etc.). The teams will take turns spinning the game wheel and answering questions about the scripture. Have the shepherd keep score on the white board.


2.     Line the teams up and let the first person in line for the team spin and answer a question. Let him consult his team if needed, but he is the only one who can give the answer. If he answers correctly, award his team the number of points he spun for. No points for a wrong answer. 


Grades 1-2: Use the multiple-choice answers provided with the questions.


Grades 3-5: Give the team a chance to answer the question, but offer multiple choices if they’re stumped.


3.     After his turn, the player goes to the end of his team’s line. Go to the next team and continue until everyone has had a turn. Use the answers to emphasize the concepts at the beginning of the lesson plan.


4.     Alternatives:


  • If the player answers the question alone, his team gets the number of points he spun for. If the team helps him, they get half the points.
  • Let the rest of the team, but not the spinner, use their Bibles.
  • Consider covering over the “bankrupt” and “lose a turn” sections of the wheel. They deprive the spinner of the chance to answer and make scoring seem more important than the story.
  • If a team is taking too long to answer, give them a one-minute limit and get the shepherd to time the game using the timer in the supply bin. Adjust the time limit if it turns out to be too short/too long.


Reflection Time: (10:30)

Gather the children into a circle and discuss:


Who did Jesus predict would deny knowing him? All the disciples, not just Peter. Well, we’re disciples of Jesus, too, so I wonder what that means for us? It means that Jesus knows we will sometimes fail him, too. But he will never fail us.


I wonder why Peter denied knowing Jesus?  He was afraid of what would happen to him. We don’t put our lives at risk by following Jesus. Is it ever scary for us to follow Jesus?  Sometimes it takes courage to be different from others around you.


What are some ways in which we deny Jesus? Going along with a group that is doing something wrong, worrying about what others think instead of what Jesus would want us to do, being too embarrassed to invite a friend to church, not helping someone who needs help, doing things that hurt someone else…..accept all answers.


Do you think it’s strange that Peter didn’t realize what he’d done until he heard the rooster crow? Have you ever done something and only realized later that it was wrong? How did Peter feel when that happened to him? Terrible, he went out and cried.


The good news is that’s not the end of Peter’s story. He went on to be a leader of the early church and spread the word of Jesus to many places. The book of Acts tells us how he risked his life time and again by sharing his faith in Jesus.


Let’s say the Bible memory verse: “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”


So Peter failed sometimes, and we will sometimes fail, too. But Peter recognized his mistake; what does that mean for us? We can recognize our mistakes, too.


After his mistake, Peter didn’t give up; he kept trying to follow Jesus. What does that mean for us? We can keep trying to follow Jesus, too.


In spite of his mistakes, Peter did great things to honor God. What does that mean for us? We can do great things to honor God, too.


At 10:35 a.m. pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the workshop. Read the prompt out loud and offer suggestions if needed. If they don’t know how to spell a word, write it on the white board. Those who finish early can turn the page over and do the activity on the back.


At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly.


Closing: (10:45)

Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to One Great Hour of Sharing.


Prayer: Close with a brief prayer. Suggestion:  Jesus, we know that we will sometimes fail you. Thank you for always loving us in spite of our mistakes. Help us to learn from our mistakes and be your faithful disciples. Amen.      


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect papers, pencils, Bibles, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

2.     Prepare opening and closing prayers.

3.     Room set-up (must wait until after Total Life Center closes on Friday). Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located

4.     Find the small blue fold-up table, stored behind the puppet stage. It is handy for organizing all your supplies. Optional: Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, meditative music for Reflection time. A boom box is located in the Puppet workshop cabinet.

5.     Display the memory verse in the room (not on the white board — you’ll need that for keeping score).

6.     GAME WHEEL: The game wheel is kept in the main room of the activity building. You will need to move it into the Arcade room before your class, and move it back to the main room after class.

7.     Practice reading or telling the story.


Supply List

Extra Bibles

Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)

Journal pages

Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)



Storytelling ideas:

Questions for Game


True or false: Jesus predicted that of all the disciples, only Peter would reject him.

False — He predicted that all of them would reject him.


When Jesus predicted that the disciples would reject him, he quoted scripture. What was the scripture?

a.      The shepherd will strike down the sheep, and they will be scattered.

b.     “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”

c.      “I will strike down the sheep, and the shepherds will be scattered.”


In the scripture, who do you think the shepherd is?





In the scripture, who are the sheep?

The guards

The teachers of the law

The disciples


True or false: Jesus said, “After I am raised to life, I will go to Nazareth ahead of you.”

False — Galilee


Which disciple objected that he would never betray Jesus?





How many times did Jesus say Peter would deny knowing him?



Jesus said Peter would deny him three times before what happened?

The rooster crowed.

The sun came up.

He was crucified.


Which of these statements did Peter make?

If I say I don’t know you, it will just be to keep myself out of trouble.

Even if they put me in jail, I will never say I don’t know you.

Even if I have to die with you, I will never say I don’t know you.


How many of the other disciples said the same thing as Peter?

All of them.


After Jesus was arrested, where was he taken?

To the house of Caiaphas, the high priest.

To the house of Caiaphas, the Roman governor.

To the temple.


When Jesus was taken to the high priest’s house, what did Peter do?

Followed along and demanded that the guards let Jesus go.

Followed along and sat down in the courtyard to see what would happen.

Followed along and went into the high priest’s house to see what would happen.


Who was in the courtyard with Peter?

The guards

The other disciples

The chief priest and scribes


While Peter was sitting in the courtyard, who recognized him as being a follower of Jesus?

One of the guards

The high priest

A servant girl


How did Peter respond?

He said, “Maybe I am and Maybe not. You can’t prove it.”

He said, “That isn’t so! I don’t know what you are talking about!”

He said, “Yes, I was with Jesus from Galilee.”


Who was the second person to accuse Peter of being with Jesus?

Another servant girl

One of the guards

The high priest


What did Peter say the second time?

I wouldn’t hang out with that crazy man!

Yes, I’m with Jesus.

“I don’t even know that man!”


The third time, some people said they knew Peter was a follower of Jesus. What was their evidence?

He looked like the people from Galilee.

He talked like the people from Galilee.

He dressed like the people from Galilee.


How did Peter respond the third time?

He cursed and swore, “I don’t know that man!”

He cursed and swore, “Leave me alone.”

He cursed and said, “Yes, I am with Jesus.”


After Peter denied Jesus the third time, what happened?

The rooster crowed.

The sun came up.

Jesus was sentenced to death.


What did Peter do when he heard the rooster crow?

He remembered what Jesus had said, and he went back and told the people that he did know Jesus.

He remembered what Jesus had said, and he went home to bed.

He remembered what Jesus had said, and he went out and cried.