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Jump! Because Everything is Possible with Jesus (Peter 1)

June 14, 2010

This is the first of three lessons on the story about Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33).  If you check the suggested schedule, you will see that this story does not follow the Creation story but is instead recommended for use in February, just before Lent.  But do as you will!
Things to know about this lesson:

  • The activity is…active.  Be prepared for things to get a little rowdy.  It is also a lot of fun and involves practically no set up or clean up.
  • You need small throwing markers of some sort (one per person).  Small wooden blocks or badminton birdies or something similar would work well – anything that is not breakable and won’t roll.

Jump!  Because Everything is Possible with Jesus

Open with prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Today, we are going to read a story about Jesus and his disciples (disciples are like very devoted students), especially a disciple named Peter. Peter was the kind of guy who asked a lot of questions and got in a lot of trouble but learned a lot while he did it.

Read the first part of the story

One evening, after a long day of teaching and working with the crowds who followed him, Jesus sent his disciples off in their boat to cross to the other side of the lake before him while he went for a walk up the mountain. He needed to be alone to think and pray. After a while, he went back to the lake but the boat was already far away from the shore, blown by the wind and the waves. By this time, it was very late at night and Jesus wanted to reach the boat. He started to walk across the water. When the disciples saw him, walking on the waves, they were terrified. “A ghost! A ghost! “ they cried.

Jesus heard them and he said, “Don’t be afraid. It’s just me.”

One of the disciples, named Peter, was still nervous and he wanted to make sure it really was Jesus. He said, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to walk to you on the water.” Jesus answered, “Come on then”.

Peter carefully stepped out of the boat and began to walk to Jesus. He couldn’t believe it! He was walking on water! He looked around but when he saw the wind and the waves he got scared and he started to sink…

Discussion

What did the disciples think Jesus was?

How did they feel?

What did Peter do?

How did Peter feel – at first? when he started to sink?

What is the scariest or hardest thing you’ve ever tried to do? What happened?

Is there something you want to do but you’re worried about trying?

Let’s see what happened to Peter. What do you think is going to happen?

Finish the story

Remember: Peter was walking to Jesus on the water but when he saw the wind and the waves he got scared and started to sink.

Peter shouted: “Jesus, save me!” Quickly, Jesus reached out and caught him. “Why did you get scared, Peter?” Jesus asked, “Why did you stop believing that it was possible?” Jesus helped Peter back into the boat with the other disciples and the storm stopped and they weren’t afraid anymore.

(Matthew 14:22-33)

Discussion

When did Peter start to sink?

How did Peter get back to the boat?

How did Peter feel when Jesus helped him?

Introduce the Game

We’re going to play a game to help us think about what it feels like when we try to do something that is difficult.

Distribute markers. Explain that everyone will go to one side of the room and put their marker just a little in front of themselves. When they are ready, they can jump over the marker. If they succeed, they should go back to the start and move the marker farther away. Keep going until they find a spot that is just a little too far for them to jump. Make sure it is clear that this is not a competition.

Pay attention for interesting things to address afterwards. For example, did anyone take a couple of tries to make a jump? Did anyone put the marker way out in front right away? Was anyone very cautious in their advances?

Regrouping

Collect the markers. Ask the group about the experience.  For example,

How did it feel to jump over the marker?
How did it feel when you couldn’t do it?
Was it fun to try?
What did you do if you didn’t make it over the marker the first time?

Remind everyone of the conclusion to Peter’s story.  Ask them if Peter could have ever walked on the water by himself. Point out that Peter had to take the first step but he needed Jesus to do something that is usually impossible.

Closing Prayer

We’re going to say a prayer that we say at the end of many church services. It is a prayer of praise and one thing it praises God for is the way that God’s power can make us do amazing things that we don’t always understand or expect.

Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God, from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen.

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