Scripture: Matthew 14: 22-33, Mark 6:45-51, John 6: 15 – 21 or page 404 in The Golden Children’s Bible
Target Age Group: 1st through 6th grade
For the teacher: I love this article by Eva Marie Everson. She compares Peter’s walk on the water to a baby’s first steps, and I think she captures the essence of the story. Jesus sent the disciples out there knowing that there was going to be a storm to test and grow their faith. But, they were always under his watchful eye. (She references the movie The Gospel of Matthew. (Start at 1:54:25)
About half way through this video in the series “That the World May Know” by Focus on the Family and Ray Vander Laan expounds on this story. Volume 6, #2 “When the Rabbi Says Go” This is an excellent series. I would strongly suggest watching it before teaching this lesson.
Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.
Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.
Have the children open their Bibles to Matthew 14 or page 404 in The Golden Children’s Bible.
(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)
- After Jesus fed the 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch, the people were so excited that they wanted to make Jesus their king. The disciples wanted that, too. But, Jesus didn’t come to be an earthly king, so…
- What did Jesus have his disciples do? Get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.
- When the people went home, where did Jesus go? Up on a mountain to pray.
- While he was up on the mountain, what was happening to the disciples? They were in the boat battling a storm.
- Remember that we had another similar story about the disciples being caught in a storm out in their boat? What is different about the two stories? In the first story Jesus was in the boat with the disciples. This time the disciples are out there alone and Jesus was on shore.
- Mark 6:48 says that Jesus saw them straining at the oars. How could Jesus see them way out there on the lake in a storm? Jesus can see everything.
- Do you think that Jesus can see you right now? Does he see you when you have fallen and hurt yourself? Does he see you when you have lost track of your Mom in a big crowded place? Yes. Jesus always has his eye on you, doesn’t he.
- How did Jesus come out to the disciples? He walked on the water.
- Why do you think that he could do that? He is God. He can do anything.
- What did the disciples think when they saw him? They thought they were seeing a ghost. They were afraid. They screamed in fear.
- What did Jesus say to them? Be brave. Don’t be afraid. It’s me.
- Do you think that Jesus wants you to be afraid? No.
- What was Peter’s reaction to that? “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
- Sometimes people want to believe in Jesus, but they are still not really sure that He is God, so they will pray a prayer sort of like Peter’s. “Jesus, if you really are God – show me.”
- And what did Jesus say? “Come.”
- Jesus is always happy to have us come to him and test him, isn’t he.
- So, Peter climbed out of the boat and started walking on the water. But, then what happened? Peter looked around at the wind and the waves and he started to get scared. And when he got scared he started to sink.
- What happens if we focus on all the bad things going on around us instead of walking straight ahead toward Jesus? We start to panic and lose our faith.
- What did Peter do then? He called “Lord, save me!”
- Did Jesus save him? Yes. He reached out his hand and caught him.
- What did Jesus say to Peter then? “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
- What did the other disciples say? “Truly you are the Son of God.”
- Let’s pray and thank Jesus for always keeping his eye on us and taking care of us. And let’s ask him to help us to always keep our eyes on him, too…
During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…
Memorize the verse.
Hebrews 13:5b “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
Have the children use colors or pastels to draw their own vision of the story on a sketch pad page. Or have them color a color page related to the story.
Color page #1 by Bible Printables
An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles. The pages are reproducible.
Share a video of this story:
Video #1 Start at 1:54:25
Video #5 (for younger kids)
Video #7 song “Walking on the Water” by Michael Card
Video #8 Use this video of a baby learning to walk as a discussion starter before beginning the lesson. Discuss how the baby has to practice and fall down lots of times to learn how to walk. Also point out that the parent says, “Come on!” and encourages the baby to try to take steps. Compare that to Peter’s walk on the water and our walk with God.
Share this object lesson from Sermons4kids. Don’t forget the activities at the bottom of the page!
This is a good craft from DLTK .
Lambsongs has a cute craft here.
This is a fantastic idea from Flame Creative Kids.
Have the children fill out these worksheets and color page from Calvary Curriculum.
Bible Fun For Kids has several great ideas.
Have the children make the booklet “Peter Walks on Water” from Lambsongs. (Scroll down)
Younger children will enjoy this story and worksheets from the Church of God .
Have the children act out the story as these did.
Older Kids will enjoy acting out the story as suggested by Teaching Them.
Sing “Two Steps Forward” or “Time to Pray” by Mary Rice Hopkins. You can get it at itunes. Or sing “You Come in a Hurry” by Crossroads Kids Club. Or sing “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns.
Make Jesus walks on water jello by DTLK for snack time.
Evaluate what the children have learned. While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.
Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.