BIG IDEA: I CAN TRUST JESUS
AIM: The ‘Should I Trust?’ childrens lesson on Peter walking on water is aimed at helping children to see how they can trust Jesus because of his character.
INTRO QUESTION: What kind of person do you find it easy to trust? [You could hand out blank paper and ask the children to draw that person or those things that make them trustworthy.]
- ‘Trust in the Lord’ by Shout Praises Kids
- ‘Proverbs 3:5-6’ by Scripture Rock
- ‘Trust’ by Anderson
- ‘Deep Cries Out’ by Bethel Kids
- ‘Walk on Water’ by Family Force 5
- Body Surfing.
- Team Sit Down. Children all get in a line in a circle, tight together. The children all slowly bend their knees and sit down on each other’s knees.
- The Human Spring. Partners stand facing one another, pressing their palms against one another. They then start to walk outwards as they keep their palms pressing, to form a triangle against the floor.
- Running Free. One partner is blindfolded. They hold hands and run together. It sounds easy, but running without seeing is pretty scary!
- Minefield. One partner is blindfolded as the other guides their friend through indoor or outdoor obstacles.
For more trust games check out the games here
SET the Scene:
Read Matthew 14:22-33. Jesus had walked towards the disciples in the boat, but only one disciple would dare to walk with and towards him. Only one disciple got out of the boat. Let’s look and see if we can understand what happened.
- Why did the disciples get scared in the boat?
- What did the disciples think Jesus was?
- Why do you think Peter got out of the boat?
- What happened when Peter took his eyes off Jesus?
- How was Peter saved from drowning?
- What do you think this story is saying about God?
- What do you think this story tells us about people?
- What do you think God is saying to you through this story?
- ‘Jesus and Peter Walk on Water’ – Lego Version
- ‘Jesus Walks on Water’ for 5-7 year olds
- ‘Jesus Walks on Water’ – instrumental song version for 8-11s or older
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) TO KNOW HIM IS TO TRUST HIM
Who would you trust? Draw or show a picture of the one person you would trust and why. You could draw or show pictures of this person as you talk. Make this a short testimony. Why do you trust this person? How long have you known them? Did you trust them at first? How do you know you trust them? What are the things that you trust this person with?
Say: I trust my friend/wife/husband because I know them. They have proven that they are trustworthy. I know I can tell them a secret or trust them not to laugh at me when I tell them something embarrassing about me. Why? Because I know they care about me.
We’re not supposed to trust everyone all of the time. It’s sensible to have some wisdom with who we trust. We wouldn’t trust a complete stranger to lead us down a dark alley. We trust those that we know. What do you think? Would you trust any of these people? [You can make the scenario go a little further by asking if they would trust them a) with a secret b) with helping them with homework c) with their life]
a) a stranger on the street b) your best friend c) someone you have met on your favorite online game who wants to meet you in person d) your dad e) your grandparents f) your teachers
We all trust different people. Some of us will trust more people than others. We trust people when they have proved to be true and good. We trust people when they have shown us that they can be good friends and want the best for us. Peter must have asked himself the same question about Jesus “Should I trust him?”
Although many of the other disciples were afraid, Peter listened to Jesus when he said: “Have courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if that is really you, then tell me to come to you on the water.” (verse 27-28)
For Peter, the answer to the thought “should I trust him?” was a definite yes. He called out to Jesus then got straight out of the boat to join Jesus on the water as soon as he was asked. Why? Because he knew who Jesus was. One time when Jesus asked his disciples, who do you say I am? Peter had replied saying “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29). The things that Jesus had done and the things he would do showed Peter and the disciples that Jesus loved people and that he could be trusted, not just as a friend but as their Savior, and not just with a secret but with their lives.
2) TO TRUST HIM IS TO LOOK TO HIM
- Use the clip from ‘Runaway Bride’ where Maggie is finally walking down the isle, (after running away from many other weddings). Maggie has practiced focussing on Ike to help her remember why she is and wants to get married…everything was going well, until she loses eye contact.
- BLANK STARE game. Alternatively to this you could have a staring contest and encourage the children to see who can stare at their friend the longest without blinking or smiling (depending on the rules you choose).
Say: Peter stepped onto the water when Jesus called him out. Although the passage never directly says it, we know that Peter must have been looking towards Jesus.
Matthew 14:29-30 says:
“Jesus said, “Come.” And Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.” But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, “Lord, save me!”
It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind and the waves that he started to sink. What we look to in our lives is very important because it will take us in certain direction. When Peter was looking to Jesus he was safe, but as soon as he took his eyes off him and onto the things around him he began to sink.
How do I know if I am looking to Jesus in my heart and life? Well, what are you spending your time thinking about most? Who or what are you trying to impress? Do you feel full of faith or full of fear? What takes most of your attention? When we look to Jesus we don’t have to be afraid and we know we can do anything! To trust Jesus is to look to him – who or what are you looking to in your life?
3) TO TRUST HIM IS TO MOVE TOWARDS HIM
Play Proximity. Start by having the children stand far away from their partner (a friend) and say how they feel, then encourage them to step closer and say how they feel. Keep encouraging the children to step closer and closer and say how they feel until they are REALLY close!
Say: Peter dared to move towards Jesus. He didn’t just stay in the boat. The boat was comfortable and safe, he knew he would be okay inside the boat. Yet the boat wasn’t going to push him to do anything great. If he got out of the boat then he would see the miraculous take place! Peter decided to get out of the boat. He walked towards Jesus.
Trusting Jesus means moving towards him – going to church, reading the bible, praying and generally just spending time in his presence! Why? Because you love him and you know that he can do the impossible in your life and in the lives of others.
Of course, moving forward doesn’t mean there won’t be times when you mess up. Sometimes we take our eyes off Jesus, but we know that he will always be there to help us back up.
Matthew 14:30-32 says:
But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, “Lord, save me!”Then Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, “Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?”
After Peter and Jesus were in the boat, the wind became calm. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “Truly you are the Son of God!”
The cool thing is, that no matter if we mess up, when we look again to Jesus, he is there to help us. Of course, we don’t mess up on purpose… but we can know he is always with us when we walk with and towards him. And what’s more, others will see that Jesus is the Son of God when we dare to walk with him and we see him do the impossible in our lives!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Choose some or all of the Bible verses on trust. Take a Twister mat or make a giant one if you have a bigger group. Print and place some of the bible verses on each of the spots. Whenever a child lands on one of the new spots with bible verse, they can grab the bible verse and keep it. The child with the most bible verses is the winner.
- Do you find it easy to trust others?
- Are there any people in your life that you would not trust. Why?
- Do you want to trust Jesus? Why/why not?
- Is it easy to trust Jesus? Why/why not?
- How have you trusted Jesus in the past?
- What would you like to trust Jesus with today?
SENSE How You Feel:
As the children do one or more of the activities below encourage them to ask the question:
If I was Peter would I have got out of the boat?
- Set the scene for Peter as he walks on water. Encourage children or leaders to wave blue material and have a boat or a chair to represent a boat. Ask the children to take turns to imagine that they are Peter walking out on the water. Ask them to act out how they would get into the water. How would they choose to trust Jesus?
- Google and color some coloring in sheets of the walking on water scene
- Fill in one or all of the ‘Walking on Water’ activity sheets by Sunday School Zone
- Create the ‘Jesus Walks on Water’ craft by Crafting the Word of God
- Create the blue jello (jelly) cup craft from Bible Fun For Kids
Have an inflatable boat or something that looks like a boat for children to place their prayers inside.
Is there something that God is asking the children to trust Jesus with today?
- You could also have some water in a large tub. Encourage the children that although you don’t have enough water to walk on, they can come and put their hands in the water as they pray and ask God to help them trust Him.