Fishy Breakfast and a Faithful Friend, Jesus Re-instates Peter
Jesus forgives Peter & gives him a mission. Print this free lesson from John 21 to teach kids that God can use them (even when they messed up). Don’t miss our updated John 21 PDF Sunday School Lesson for kids.
Kids know (hopefully) that when they make mistakes, parents are quick to forgive and make things right again. They may or may not be truly aware and appreciative of the fact that the same is true with God, the heavenly Father. In this lesson, we take a peek at one of Jesus’s friends to see how the Savior gave second (and third and fourth) chances always.
Lesson focus: No matter what we do, God is always ready to forgive us and welcome us back as His precious children.
Passage: John 21 Jesus Restores Peter
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed:(for suggested activities below) Fishing rod, cargo nets, small prizes, wading pool, string; straws; Paper and decorative materials
Reader feedback – one reader shared their lesson plan about Peter’s calling, betrayal, and restoration. We are sharing it here if you’d like even more teaching ideas. (download Word doc)
Alternate Lessons on the Miraculous Catch & Peter’s Reinstatement
Over the years we’ve posted several lessons by different writers about this same Bible passage. You may enjoy the different teaching approaches and bonus activity ideas for building your own lesson plan.
- Children’s Sermon John 21:1-19
- Preschool Lesson on the Miraculous Catch John 21:1-14
- “Breakfast on the Beach” Lesson
- Peter’s New Beginning John 21:15-19
- Games & Activities for and Lesson from Sermons 4 Kids (offsite link)
Lesson Opening: Third time is a charm…start out with a quick round of Simon says, only with a twist: whatever the leader instructs, students have to do it three times. If Simon says jump, students jump three times. If Simon says clap, clap three times. If Simon asks a question, students answer three times. Explain to students that in this story Jesus asked something three times and wanted to share something important.
John 21:1-19 Bible Lesson for Kids
Describe for students how after Jesus rose from the dead, He came back and appeared to people several times. One of those times is what we will be discussing today. Peter had gone back to being a fisherman after Jesus rose from the dead, and he was out in his sailboat with James and John. Hold up a fishing rod, as well as a net (mention the difference, and how Peter used the net to catch fish). They had fished all night and not had a single fish swim into their nets, and they were tired and hungry.
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. -John 21:4-6
Jesus came by and told them to try putting their nets on the other side of the boat. When they did, they caught more fish than they could even hold! Peter realized that it was Jesus who was there on the shore, and he jumped out of the boat and swam as fast as he could to Him. Once there, Jesus built a campfire and cooked some fish for breakfast.
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. 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.” 11 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. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. -John 21:7-13
Then Jesus started talking to Peter and asked if Peter loved Him.
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. -John 21:15-17
Jesus asked this three times, and three times Peter told Him he did love Him, and Jesus told him to “feed my sheep.” This meant that Jesus was giving Peter a very special job of taking care of people and working for the church. Jesus knew Peter would be good at this. He asked him three times probably because Peter had denied knowing him three times, and now he could make up for that and have a second chance. Remind students that God loves us and has special plans for us. Even when we make mistakes, He always forgives us and lets us start fresh!
Learning Activity: Go Fishing
Have students “Go fishing.” Use a plastic fishing rod with a magnet (or makeshift pole if it works better) and have one child at a time lower the rod into a wading pool type container with tiny prizes (sticker, tattoo, candy, toy, eraser…). Ask review questions about the story and allow students to fish out a prize to take with them.
Sunday School Craft Idea
Craft: Fishing for faithful…have students decorate and write on a paper fish to describe how they will “feed God’s lambs…” Attach the fish with a string to a straw or popsicle stick “fishing rod.”
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Ask God for opportunities to share His love with others and take care of them.