Scripture: Matthew 14:22-33
“Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” Philippians 4:123 (CEV)
· Jesus, as the son of God, is powerful.
· Jesus gives us the power to do God’s work in the world.
· Faith is believing God is with us.
· If we focus on Jesus, our faith is strengthened.
1. Older children will locate the story of Jesus walking on water in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Matthew.
2. The children will play games that reinforce their knowledge of the events of the story and illustrate the importance of focusing on Jesus in their lives.
3. The children will think about how they can do God’s work in the world.
Welcome and Introductions: (10:00)
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 learning the story of Jesus walking on water and playing some games to see how well we know the story.
Scripture/Bible Story: (10:05)
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. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. Help the students to find the book of Matthew.. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)
If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether Matthew is in Old or New Testament (it’s about Jesus so it’s in NEW Testament). Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere near the beginning of the New Testament. Tell them that Matthew is the first book in the New Testament.
After they’ve found Matthew, help them find chapter 14, then verse 23. 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.
2. Read the story, letting the older children follow along in their Bibles. OR, tell the story, using the summary below as a guide. Either way, make it 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:
3. Grades 3-5: After reviewing the story, play a couple of rounds of "who can find the passage first." Call out these verses (the beginnings of the other Gospel accounts of Jesus walking on water) for the students to search and read when they find them -- do this in pairs so that less-skilled readers are not put on the spot.:
One day Jesus sent his disciples in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. He stayed behind and went up on a mountain where he could be alone and pray.
That night, when the boat was a long way from the shore, it was going against the wind and was being tossed around by the waves. A little while before morning, the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water toward them. They thought he was a ghost. They were terrified and started screaming.
Jesus said to them, "Don't worry! I am Jesus. Don't be afraid."
Peter answered, "Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come on!" Jesus said. Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter realized how strong the wind was, he got scared and started sinking. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.
Right away, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, "You don't have much faith. Why do you doubt?"
When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down. The men in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, "You really are the Son of God!"
Wheel of Fortune
Divide the kids into teams of 3 or 4 players. Line the teams up. The teams will take turns spinning the game wheel, then answering questions. Let the first person in line for the team spin. Ask a question and give the player about 1 minute to answer. He can ask his team for help, but he is the only one who can give the answer.
Keep score on the white board. For correct answer, the team gets the number of points he spun for. No points for wrong answer.(If they are 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).
After the team’s turn, the player who spun goes to the end of his team’s line. Continue, going from team to team, until everybody has had a chance to spin.
See end of lesson plan for questions. Offer the multiple-choice answers if the team is stumped. Feel free to improve the questions or add some of your own.
Where’s Jesus? (10:25)
Keep the kids in their teams, although you won’t keep score in this game. Have five identical objects, such as jar lids, with “Jesus” written on the bottom of one. Place the “Jesus” object and one of the plain objects on a table. Show the underside of each to the kids and say, “Now concentrate on Jesus.” Slowly move the two objects a few times, picking them up so the kids can see the undersides. Make it very easy to remember which is which. Then ask the first team, “Where’s Jesus?” They should be able to identify the correct object.
Repeat, making it harder each time and letting the teams take turns identifying Jesus. Stop showing the undersides, then start going faster, then start adding objects until you are using all five and moving them fast enough that it is very challenging to guess where Jesus is.
The objects you use should be easy to pick up and slide around. As an alternative, you could play a shell game using small plastic cups or halves of plastic Easter eggs, with a marble or bean beneath each. The different-colored marble is Jesus.
Reflection Time: (10:30)
In the story, why do you think Peter was suddenly able to walk on water? Jesus gave him the power. I wonder what that means for us. What if there’s something Jesus wants us to do? Jesus also gives us the power to do God’s work.
I wonder how we can know what Jesus wants us to do. What are some ways that we can do God’s work in the world? Encourage the kids to give examples from everyday life of showing love and kindness to people at school, family, etc.; being honest; playing fair; doing the right thing; helping others; controlling anger; etc. They can share the love of Jesus every day through the way they live their lives.
Is it easy to do God’s work? Sometimes, but sometimes it’s hard. Who gives us the power to do difficult things? Jesus, just like he gave Peter the power to do something difficult.
In the game we just played, was it easy to focus on where Jesus was? Sometimes, but sometimes it was hard. In the story, Peter was doing just fine walking on water while he was focused on Jesus, but then he let the wind distract him and he started to sink. Sometimes we get overwhelmed or distracted by things that go wrong, or worry us, or scare us – that’s when it’s hard to remember that Jesus is with us. If we can keep our focus on Jesus, he will help us in whatever situation we’re in.
Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. “Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” Philippians 4:13
What are some ways we can keep our focus on Jesus and remember that he is with us? Pray, attend church and Faith Quest, study to learn more about Jesus, think about what Jesus would do in a situation, remember this story, remember the Bible verse and say it to yourself when you’re feeling weak or helpless.
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 on the page as a reminder of the workshop.
Read the prompt out loud. If the kids are having trouble thinking of something to write, offer ideas or remind them of the discussion. 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.
Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. The offering from this rotation will go to a church in Ethiopia. That church is doing God’s work in the world by sending evangelists all around the region to teach people about Jesus. Our offering will support them in their work.
Prayer: Close with a brief prayer. Suggestion: Lord, show us how we can do God’s work in the world. Help us to remember that you are with us always and to look to you for strength and courage. Amen
Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect Bibles, pencils, 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. 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.
4. Write the scripture verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.
5. Bring the game wheel in from the main room of the activity building, where it is stored. Bring in a table for the Where’s Jesus? game (or find something with a smooth surface you can use for playing the game on the floor).
8. Choose and collect objects for the Where’s Jesus? game. Write “Jesus” on one.
9. Practice reading or telling the story until you can do it smoothly and dramatically.
Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)
Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)
Extra Bibles (in cabinet in Creation Station)
Objects for Where’s Jesus game
Questions for game
Why did the disciples get into the boat?
to go fishing
because Jesus told them to
they wanted to get away from the crowd
When the disciples got into the boat, where did Jesus tell them to go?
to the other side of the Sea of Galilee
Why did Jesus want to be alone?
To get some sleep
To get some peace and quiet
Where did Jesus go to pray?
Onto the water
Up a mountain
Into a small room
Where was the boat when the wind and waves started tossing it?
near the other side of the Sea of Galilee
not far from shore
a long way from the shore
What time of day was it when Jesus came walking on the water ?
A little while before morning
Early in the evening
What did the disciples think when they saw Jesus?
They thought he was the son of God
They thought he was a ghost
They though he was coming to save them
How did the disciples feel when they saw Jesus?
They were relieved to see him
They were terrified
They were mad that he had sent him out in a storm
What did the disciples do when they saw Jesus?
They started screaming.
They started laughing
They started arguing
What did Jesus say when the disciples saw him walking on water?
Get out of that boat!
"Don't worry! I am Jesus. Don't be afraid."
Peace, be still.
What did Peter say to Jesus?
"Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water."
"Wow! Can I try that?”
How do you do that?
What did Jesus say to Peter?
You’d better stay in the boat.
Don’t try this at home.
Why did Peter start sinking?
He was too heavy to walk on water.
He had never had walking on water lessons
He saw how strong the wind was, and he got scared
What did Peter say when he started sinking?
Somebody throw me a rope!
"Save me, Lord!"
Hey! I was doing OK for a minute there
What did Jesus do when Peter started sinking?
He said, Be brave, you can do it!
He threw Peter a rope
He reached out his hand and helped Peter up.
What did Jesus say after he helped Peter up?
"You surely don't have much faith. Why do you doubt?"
You shouldn’t have thought about the wind and waves.
Let’s get in the boat.
What happened when Jesus and Peter got into the boat?
The wind died down.
The sun came up
The fish started biting
What did the men in the boat do after the wind died down:
They put out their nets and caught some fish for breakfast.
They rowed the boat to shore
They worshiped Jesus and said, "You really are the Son of God!"
In what book of the Bible is this story?
Matthew (or, Matthew, Mark and Luke)