Lesson: The Good and Bad Fish – Parable of the Net

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about the coming judgment and the need to share the Gospel.

Needed: Bibles, pictures of happy and angry fish, paper bag or kiddie pool

Intro Game: Angel Fishing! 

Photocopy the Happy and Angry fish patterns and place them in a kiddie pool (without water) or in a paper bag. Have students take turns closing their eyes and reaching in to pick a fish.

When they pull one out, they open their eyes and decide what to do with the fish. If it’s a Happy fish that they caught, they get to keep it and get a point for that fish.

If it’s an Angry fish, they have to put it in a common discard pile. The student with the most Happy fish at the end wins.


Read Matthew 13:47-50.)

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

So, the fishermen in this story were catching two kinds of fish. They caught some good fish and some bad fish. What did they do with the good fish? (They put them in baskets to keep.)

What did they do with the bad fish? (They threw them away.)

Jesus also said that the fish were like people. The good people are the people who believe in God and do the right things that God wants them to do. What will happen to the good people when they die? (They will go to Heaven.)

God will keep them in Heaven, just like the fishermen kept the good fish in his basket.

And the bad people are people who don’t believe in God and who do the wrong things that God doesn’t want them to do. What will happen to people when they die if they don’t believe in God? (They will go to Hell.)

God will send those people to Hell, just like the fishermen threw the bad fish away.

That’s sad because God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell, but some people will because they decide not to believe in God.

That why we need to make sure we believe in God and tell as many other people as we can to believe in God so that they can believe in God, too, and not go to Hell when they die.

Game: Angel Fishing! 

Play the intro game again, but this time, when one of the students finds an Angry fish, have them tell the fish something about God or Jesus, or invite them to church to help them practice sharing the faith. Instead of discarding those fish, you’ll hold them and say you’re not sure what they’ll decide so you can’t put them in the discard pile yet or count them as Happy.

Game: Disciple Tag 

Choose one student to be It. When they tag someone, that person links hands with them and joins their team. They continue adding people to their team, linking hands with each one until all but one student is part of their chain. That remaining student becomes It for the next round.

Play two or three rounds and then, explain that when we tell people about Jesus, we want them to believe in Jesus too. If they do, they become a Christian and join our team. Then, they help us tell more people about Jesus.

Closing Prayer

Jesus, we’ll pray that You’ll help us to truly trust in You so that when we die, or when the angels come, we’ll be able to live with You forever. And help us to tell everyone we can about You so that they can live forever with You too. Amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 1.

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