Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids how important it is to love Jesus.
Needed: Bibles, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Explain that this story probably happened a couple of weeks after Jesus rose from the dead.
(Read John 21:1-6.)
“Afterward Jesus appeared again to His disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. ‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said, ‘We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
“He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
“‘No,’ they answered.
“He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”
Why did the disciples not catch anything, but then, caught a lot when Jesus told them to try the other side?
Sometimes, when we try to do things on our own, it doesn’t work out the way we want. But if we listen to what Jesus tells us to do, He will help us.
(Read John 21:7.)
“Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.”
Why did Peter jump out of the boat when he realized it was Jesus on the beach, instead of waiting for the boat to get back to shore? (Peter was so excited to see Jesus that he didn’t want to wait.)
Are you excited to see Jesus?
Someday, we will see Jesus, either when we die and go to Heaven or when Jesus comes back from Heaven. Then, we’ll be with Jesus all the time. But even before we see Him, we can still be excited to spend time with Jesus now. What are some things we can do to spend time with Jesus now? (We can spend time with Jesus by praying, reading our Bible, going to church, etc.)
Let’s spend some time Jesus right now.
Prayer Activity: Spending Time with Jesus
Have students separate around the room. Ask them to spend 5 minutes praying to Jesus. Tell them that they can talk to Jesus about anything they want to. After 4 minutes, ask them to stop talking to Jesus and to listen to anything He might want to say to them in their heart.
Read John 21:8-14.
“The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.”
Do you remember how when Jesus was arrested, Peter told the guards three times that He didn’t know Jesus? He said he didn’t know Jesus because he was afraid that the guards would arrest him like they arrested Jesus. But now listen to what Jesus does.
(Read John 21:15-17.)
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?’
“‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love You.’
“Jesus said, ‘Feed My lambs.’
“Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me?’
“He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.’
“Jesus said, ‘Take care of My sheep.’
“The third time He said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me?’
“Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’
“Jesus said, ‘Feed My sheep.’”
Why did Jesus ask Peter three times if he loved Him? (Because Peter had said that He didn’t know Jesus three times the night Jesus was arrested.)
Why does Jesus ask if Peter loves Him instead of asking him something else? (The thing that Jesus cares about most is if we love Him.) Do you love Jesus?
And what did Jesus ask Peter to do? (Feed and take care of His sheep.)
Did Jesus have sheep? What is He talking about?
Jesus is telling Peter to take care of Jesus’ followers. And one way we take care of people is to help them.
Craft: Servant Brainstorming
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw a picture of one thing they can do this week to help someone else. When everyone is finished, have them share their drawings and ideas. Remind students that Jesus told Peter, and He tells us, to take care of His people.
Game: Sword Drill
Give each student a Bible and say, Jesus also told Peter to feed His sheep. That means He wanted Peter to teach His people God’s Word. But if we want to teach other people, we have to know the Bible, don’t we? We have to read it so that we know what it says.
Let’s practice getting to know our Bible so that we can help teach other people. Call out the name of one of the books of the Bible. The student who finds that book first wins. To make it a little more difficult, you can call out the chapter and verse of a book or the name of a Biblical person or event.
Jesus, we thank You for forgiving Peter when He said He didn’t know and we thank You for forgiving us of our sins too. Help us to love You our whole lives and to teach other people about You. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, He Came, He Saw, He Conquered.