Here’s a “Jesus and Peter Walk on Water” lesson plan that uses Life of Christ software, and Cal and Marty’s Scripture Memory software together. It has a great interactive demonstration after the use of Life of Christ CD, a “visual prayer” at the end, and demonstrates how to work with the question posed at the end of the LoC presentation.
I originally wrote this lesson as a volunteer for the Writing Team project over at www.rotation.org. This one here has been updated.
Jesus Walks, Peter Sinks, Jesus Saves
- Students will learn the story using Life of Christ CD (older) or Play and Learn Children’s Bible CD (younger).
- They will do a “walking demonstration” about keeping focused on Jesus.
- They will then look at the comforting words of Psalm 46.
- If time allows or for a follow-up lesson, they can practice Psalm 46 as a memory verse using Cal and Marty’s Scripture Memory Game CD.
Share a time in your life when you needed God to help you. Ask students to recall a time in their life when they were afraid or in trouble.
Ask the group to think of situations in life where a person might feel alone or in trouble.
Ask the group what kinds of things a person can do to get help in those situations. Write out this discussion on the board as you have it.
Talk to students about another kind of fear: a fear of being overwhelmed by one’s life, sins, doubts about God, doubts about yourself. Fear of unbelief, or not feeling ‘religious’ enough. As you describe these, write them on the board (this will help them remember what you said). Ask them to add to this “fears” list.
As you write out all these things, begin to draw WAVES around them. Add storm clouds, rain, lightning, and a person walking on the water. Now add Jesus to your picture and tell the students that today’s story is about Jesus coming to his disciples during a storm, and inviting Peter to trust him and step out on the water.
Ask the children if they know what happened. Depending on which week in the rotation, they may be able to tell you the whole story!
If they have a good grasp of the story, and if they are older, give them something new to “look for in the software presentation,” such as, “do you think Jesus knew Peter would sink? And if so, what point was Jesus trying to make?”
Dig into Lesson on Life of Christ CD, Lesson #20 “Jesus Walks on Water.” (Children ages K-1 can use the the in Play & Learn Children’s Bible CD “Jesus Walks on Water” story, though the story in Life of Christ CD is also appropriate.)
LoC’s Lesson #20 ends with this question: “When you pray do you focus your attention more on Jesus’ power or on your problem?” Have students write down this question, but don’t have them answer it –because it’s a leading question. Instead, bypass it and take the 6 question quiz at the end of the story to reinforce their story memory.
THEN go back to the lesson’s question:
The “asker” of the question in the CD obviously wants us to focus more on trusting Jesus, than just focusing on our problem. Peter sank when he focused only on his problems and forgot who he was with!
Lead the following discussion:
Ask: What happened to Peter when he focused on the waves (trouble) instead of Jesus?
Ask: How do we stay focused on Jesus? …What are our tools? –Prayer, Scripture, Worship, Service (not thinking of self).
Now do this brief demonstration:
Have students stand and put their hands around their eyes so they can ONLY see their feet. Then ask them to walk forward across the room. They will wander and bump into objects. Now ask them to walk back with their eyes up and their hands reaching out to you, …seeing you with your hand outstretched like Jesus. They will be able to navigate safely back to you.
Say: When we pray, worship, and read scripture, they help us keep our eyes on Jesus and guide us through trouble. When we focus on our troubles and forget Jesus is our guide and savior, we stumble and sink.
NOTE: This is a key demonstration and lesson point which will be picked up in the closing as well.
Advanced Discussion Question:
Did Jesus require strong faith from Peter before rescuing him? (No. God saves. Faith is our response to this gift.) So why do you think Jesus asked Peter to walk on the water? Did he know he would fail? (Yes. God knows.) Thus, Jesus was teaching Peter and the disciples an important lesson. (Where to keep their focus, where to put their trust.) Ask: What do you think that lesson is?
PSALM 46 ACTIVITY
This lesson introduces Psalm 46, a famous psalm of “comfort” with some great word-visuals of comfort.
If you don’t have time to add this 10 minute Psalm 46 activity to this lesson, find another time and place for it. You can also consider turning Ps 46 into a scripture memory verse in Cal and Marty’s Scripture Memory Game CD which can be completed in under 5 minutes. Psalm 46 is “one of those psalms” our kids should be familiar with, and it fits perfectly with this story.
DO: Turn to Psalm 46, read it together. Then, do the following actions and ask questions:
Do: Smack!! the table and give it a couple of big shakes while saying in a loud voice, “though the earth should change and the mountains shake!” Watch for their nervous reactions. Some may even be afraid and certainly startled. Then quietly say, “we will not fear, for God is our refuge and strength.” Invite them to do this with you a second time as they read along with you.
Ask: What kinds of bad things happen that can really shake you up?
Do: Have students slowly start to rock side-to-side until you create a wave, then have them join you in stomping their feet to make a low-roar. Then stop and quietly say, “God is in our midst, we will not be moved, or sink!”
Ask: What kind of troubles do people get in that seem to toss them side to side like they are caught in stormy waves? (family problems, friends, lying, sickness)
How does Jesus reach out to them/us?
How can YOU reach out to them to help calm their life?
How does our church reach out to others to help calm their life and point them to Jesus?
For older students: What are the nations in an uproar about?
What does this Psalm 46 suggest is their solution? (listen to God’s voice!)
Psalm 46 (NRSV)
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Closing “A Visual Prayer”
Revisit the “walking demonstration” you did earlier in the lesson. This time, however, have one student only looking at their feet, while all the other students put their hand on that student’s shoulder and focus on YOU the teacher (Jesus) at the end of the room. Make the Point: We are here to be guided, and to guide other through trouble to Jesus. After they guide that student across the room to you, have them repeat these lines of prayer while they stay with their hands on the shoulder of the student.
Let us pray, repeating after me: “Together | we are the Body of Christ | reaching out | to those in need. | Lord help me! | to reach out to you | especially in times of trouble | and to share your words of strength and comfort | with friends and strangers in my life. | Amen! “