Peter was a charismatic and bold follower of Jesus. His experiences with Christ before the crucifixion were certainly climatic, but after the resurrection Peter’s faith became even stronger as the leader of the early church. In “Peter is Transformed by Jesus” (lesson 4 of the “Forever Changed” series), children will learn that God also wants to use their individual abilities and strengths to tell the world about Jesus. This lesson includes both a review game of previously discussed lessons and a craft that will remind children that God has a special plan for them because Jesus is alive!
TARGET AGES: 10-14
OBJECTIVE: To outline how Jesus’ resurrection made a difference in Peter’s life.
MAIN IDEA: Peter was a strong, committed follower and friend of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t perfect, but his faith grew after Jesus was resurrected and Peter then became a very important leader in the early church.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Matthew 14:22-33, Luke 22:34 & 60-62, John 20:1-10, Acts 2:14 & 38-39, Acts 9:32-35, Acts 12:6-11
MATERIAL(S): blank sheets of paper, writing utensils, white board, card stock paper (or construction paper), markers, stickers, scissors, scrapbook paper, glue sticks
Introduction (10 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, help us learn from Peter’s life and choose obedience to your word. Thank you for dying for our sins and giving us victory over death through your resurrection. Amen.”
ICEBREAKER REVIEW AND GAME:
Say, “So far we’ve discussed how James, John, and Mary Magdalene were changed because of Jesus’ resurrection. Today we’re going to start the lesson by playing a game to review what we’ve learned.” Give each child a piece of paper and a pen or pencil and ask them to number 1-10. Then write the names “James, John, Mary” on the white board and explain to the class that they will need to write one of the names to answer each question. Say the prompts and then review the answers. (You may also consider bringing a small prize for the child who answers the most questions correctly.)
- Who was one of Jesus’ closest friends? (John)
- Who was the first person to see the empty tomb? (Mary Magdalene)
- Who was the preacher of the Jerusalem church? (James)
- Who travelled and preached with Peter? (John)
- Who saw where Jesus was buried? (Mary Magdalene)
- Who was one of Jesus’ siblings? (James)
- Who wrote the biblical book Revelation? (John)
- Who did Jesus personally appear to after his resurrection? (Two answers: Mary Magdalene and James)
- Who was demon possessed before meeting Jesus? (Mary Magdalene)
- Who was with Jesus at the Transfiguration and the Garden of Gethsemane? (John)
Lesson (20 minutes)
- Say, “Today’s lesson is about Peter and how he was changed by Jesus’ resurrection. We’ve already learned a little about his experiences from the other lessons, but today we will specifically look at his unique response.” Read Matthew 14:22-33 (Jesus walks on the water). Ask for volunteers to comment on what they think was amazing or unique about Peter’s experience (he was the only one who dared to walk on the water, he started to sink when he got scared, it helped him realize Jesus was the Son of God, etc). Then read Luke 22:34 & 60-62. Ask, “What did Peter do (deny Jesus three times)? What was his response (he wept bitterly)? We know that Jesus later reinstated Peter into his ministry (John 21:15-19) and he had a very special role for Peter to fill!”
- Next, talk about Peter’s response to the empty tomb by reading John 20:1-10. Ask the children to find the verbs, or actions, which describe Peter’s response (e.g. ran, went [in], saw, went [back]). Tell the class that Peter’s evident boldness (when compared to John and Mary Magdalene) is a unique trait that God would later use to spread the gospel and lead the church. Say, “Why is boldness a good characteristic for a leader? Could boldness ever be a bad trait for a leader?” Candidly discuss how boldness, when led by the Holy Spirit, is a wonderful trait, but pride and arrogance can get in the way if we’re not careful. Comment, “Just like James, John, and Mary Magdalene grew stronger in their faith after Jesus’ resurrection, we are going to see that Peter’s response is also incredible and that God used him in wonderful ways.”
- Ask three different volunteers to look up and read Acts 2:14 & 38-39 (Peter leads the early church), Acts 9:32-35 (Peter heals Aeneas), and Acts 12:6-11(Peter escapes from prison). Write the scripture references on the board and then write the summary of each passage while the volunteer reads. Say, “Peter had a special role after Jesus’ resurrection as the leader of the early church and lead many people to God through preaching, healings, and other miracles. Scripture gives us the evidence that Peter had been drastically changed from someone who had denied Christ to someone who would give up everything for Christ.” Emphasize that we should remember Peter’s motivation to serve Christ and follow his example by persevering in the faith. Also, tell the class that we must each have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ if we want to escape the penalty of sin, and encourage the children to speak with you about salvation if they have any questions about becoming a believer.
“I Am Unique”: Craft (15 minutes)
Comment, “Peter was a very unique person who God used to fulfill a special role. Today we are going to make a craft that reminds us how we are special and come up with ways God can use our own abilities to spread the gospel and show that we’re changed because of Jesus’ resurrection.” Instruct the children to first trace their hand on their paper. Then they will write a characteristic that makes them unique on each finger (funny, smart, happy, friendly, athletic, musical, etc). Next, have them think about how God could use their abilities to spread the gospel and write the possibility in the palm of their traced hand. Then they may decorate their paper with stickers, markers, scrapbook paper, and other various craft supplies. Remind the class that God has a special plan for each of their lives and he’ll use their unique abilities to reach others, just like he did with Peter! Say, “Because Christ is alive we need to act on our faith and show others that they can also have a relationship with him.”
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Peter was bold in his faith and God used him in amazing ways to lead the church and spread the gospel after Jesus’ resurrection. God also wants to use us in unique ways to tell others that Jesus is alive and show the world that we’ve been changed.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, we know we are changed because of the resurrection. Help us follow Peter’s bold example of determined servanthood. Also, please help us remember that you made us unique and want to use us in special ways to lead others to Christ. Amen.”