Preschool Bible Lesson: Jesus Feeds the 5,000 & Walks on Water

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Preschool Lesson about JesusThis is lesson continues our curriculum for preschoolers about knowing Jesus. Each lesson is based on a passage in the Gospel of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons.
This particular lesson is from Mark 6:33-52 where Jesus performs a series of miracles. While these are often familiar stories for adults they may be new for the children in your class. The feeding of the 5,000 and the walking on water show us that Jesus is God. Preschoolers will understand how important it is for us to recognize Jesus as God and never let our hearts grow blind to who He is and why He came. This lesson includes age-appropriate learning activities and a simple Bible memory verse.

Bible Passage: Mark 6:33-52
Bible Lesson Title: Jesus Feeds 5,000 and Walks on Water
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 37 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Knowing Jesus through the Book of Mark: Lesson Seventeen (37 minutes)
Scripture: Mark 6:33-52
Exegetical Idea: Jesus shows His power as God once more, and the disciples hearts are revealed as blind.
Pedagogical Idea: Jesus is God. He desires for our hearts to see clearly who He is, never forgetting and allowing our hearts to grow blind.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will understand how important it is for us to recognize Jesus as God and never let our hearts grow blind to who He is and why He came.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel assured of God’s love and compassion.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will praise God through song.
Lesson Overview

  1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Put on Bible outfits, introduce Bible lesson, have a small snack of bread. Supplies: Bible, loaf of bread.
  2. God Revealed (15 minutes) Description: Experience the Bible story. Supplies: Bible, Picture of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (or you can bring actual bread and fish), boat (pretend or real; be as creative as you would like)
  3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Discuss the disciples’ lack of belief, who Jesus is, and how we should respond. Supplies: Bible, soft blanket
  4. Daily Knowing (7-10 minutes) Description: Worship Jesus through song.  Supplies: Notecards, song Majesty by Michael W. Smith

**Before the children arrive, have the Bible outfits ready. The God Revealed section of this lesson is longer than usual. Be prepared to be very interactive and energetic with the preschoolers as you are teaching the lesson (acting it out, using voice inflection, etc.)
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)

  • After putting on your Bible outfits, sit together around a table. Hold up a loaf of bread and ask: What is this? Do you think this loaf of bread will feed all of us? How many loaves of bread would it take to feed the entire church? How many would it take to feed all of our families together? What about all of the kids at your school plus all of our families plus all of the church? (ask these questions while passing out pieces of the bread for them to eat.)
  • State: Today we are going to come to know Jesus more through Mark chapter six. Mark is a book in the Bible (show them). The Bible is God’s Word. He wrote it, so we know everything in it is true. In Mark chapter six, Jesus does two amazing things that we are going to learn about today! The first is a miracle related to bread and fish (hold up a picture of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish). Let’s follow Jesus together and see how we can know Him more today!

2. God Revealed (15 minutes)

  • Please be sure and read chapter 6 in its entirety before teaching this lesson so you can get the context.
  • State: Jesus had sent His twelve disciples out to spread the Gospel on their own. He was preparing them to one day be without Him. When they  came back, they told Jesus all they had done. While they were gone, John the Baptist had been killed for teaching truth. This saddedned and perhaps frightened the disciples for what may happen to themselves. There were many people coming to them to be healed, see miracles, and hear them teach. There were so many people that they did not even have time to eat!
  • State: Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” They were probably very tired from their journey. Jesus cared about them and knew they needed to rest.
  • State: So let’s all get in our boat and head to a place where no one else is around! But the people saw them going and ran there together on foot from all the cities (some children might like to pretend to be the people).  They got there before the boat! (pretend to point out at all the people.) When Jesus got to the shore, He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Compassion means He had great love for them. So He began to teach them many things instead of going to rest.
  • State: When it was very late in the day, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place has no food, and it is very late; send the people away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But Jesus answered them and said, “You give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and spend all of our money on bread and give them something to eat?” And He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said “five, and two fish.” Let’s count together the five loaves and two fish (use the picture, fake food, or actual loaves (though you probably do not want to use real fish))!
  • State: Jesus commanded all the people to sit down by groups on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties! (If you have quite a few children, let some of them sit in groups on the floor and the others act out the part of the disciples.) Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves (do this). He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people (all them to act this out). He divided up the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterwards, the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.  Let’s count together twelve baskets. There were five thousand men who ate the loaves! How do you think Jesus fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish and had twelve baskets leftover? (It was a miracle, He was God, He made it into more food.)
  • State: Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He himself was sending the crowd away (send the “disciples” to the boat and instruct them to begin rowing across the “sea”). After telling the people goodbye, Jesus left the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. The wind was blowing very hard against the boat and the disciples were straining at the oars. Can you show me how hard it would be to row with the wind blowing against you? Then Jesus came to them, walking on the sea; and He was going to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified! But immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped, and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their hearts were blind.

3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes)

  • Lead them to sit around you on a soft blanket. Ask: Why do you think the disciples were afraid when they saw Jesus? (because He was walking on water and humans can’t walk on water; so they thought it was ghost.) Is Jesus human? (yes.) Who else is Jesus? (God!) Jesus is fully human and fully God. The disciples had been following Jesus and hearing Him teach for a long time. They saw Him calm a storm, heal people, forgive people, even bring a little girl back to life! Jesus had even sent them out to spread the Good News, but they still did not completely understand who He was! They watched as He took five loaves of bread and two fish and fed thousands of people, and yet they had missed it.  They had even held the loaves in their hands and felt His power making the bread and fish multiply!
  • State: But their hearts were blind. As they saw Jesus walking on the sea, they were astonished. They could not believe it and thought He was a ghost! This was silly, and they should have recognized Jesus. Though Jesus had revealed to them many times who He was, when they were afraid, they still quickly forgot that He was fully God.
  • We see Jesus’ desire for the disciples to recognize who He is and why He has come. We see Him again as God in these miracles. Jesus wants each of you to know and remember who He is and why He came to earth. Jesus desires for us to not just hear about who He is, but to always remember and to never let our hearts become blind, forgetting all we know to be true. Jesus is God. We know this from what we read in the Bible (hold up your Bible). He came to earth so that we could be forgiven of our sins, so that we could know God and live forever with Him. Never forget this. Believe and remember. Let’s pray. (Praise Jesus in your prayer for the aspects of His character you taught about today. Ask Him to help you and the children always remember who He is. Allow each child to pray as well if they would like.)

4. Daily Knowing (7-10 minutes)

  • State: One very important thing we do not want to miss today is the great compassion Jesus had for the people who came to hear Him teach. Compassion means showing great love and great kindness to someone. He was tired and hungry just like the disciples. Yet, when He saw all these people who were eager to hear what He had to say, He felt love for them in His heart and saw them as more important than Himself. Jesus has compassion on each of us too.  He loves us greatly and wants us to know Him. Let’s praise Him together now with the song we learned last week.
  • Sing Majesty by Michael W. Smith
  • I am not including a memory verse time in this lesson for the sake of time, but if you do have time, I encourage you to choose a verse and help them learn it!
  • Let the parents know what you have talked about this morning by sending home a notecard. Encourage them to help their children find a way to remind themselves each day who Jesus is so their hearts will not grow blind.

For more help browse our growing collection of preschool coloring pages. You will find there some that feature simple cartoon style drawings of Jesus you could use to re-tell this story.

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