TEXT: John 21:1-19
The students will be able to relate Christ's instructions to Simon Peter, and will understand that one of the ways we can worship Jesus our King is through service to Him.
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: Bring a complete table setting to class, as described under In-Class Activities. Explain how each piece of the place setting has its own particular use, and all the uses are a little different. Jesus has a use for each one of us too.
- Simon Peter and some of the other disciples went fishing, but caught nothing through the whole night.
- At morning, Jesus stood on the shore and called to them, telling them to cast their nets on the other side. When they obeyed, the net was filled with fishes.
- Peter recognized the Lord's voice, and swam to shore. The other disciples landed the boat.
- Jesus gave them food to eat, and then asked Peter three times if he loved Him more than these. Peter responded in the affirmative each time.
Climax: Jesus' command to Peter was that he should "Feed my sheep."
Conclusion: Jesus' words to Peter indicated the importance of serving God by telling others the message of the Gospel.
Response: Your students should be able to relate Jesus' command to Peter to our responsibility to work for Him in our day.
When studying this event at the Sea of Galilee, it is probably best understood when one knows more precisely the actual words spoken by Christ and Peter. When Peter said, "I go a fishing," he most likely was not abandoning Christ and returning to his old occupation, but simply going fishing to supply himself and his friends with needed food. This seems even more likely when one views the enthusiasm with which Peter greeted Christ when he realized who He was (John 21:7). The Lord then begins to question Peter about his love. When Jesus inquired, "Peter, do you love Me more than these?" He could have meant "Do you love Me more than these fish and this occupation?" or "Do you love Me more than you love these other men?" or "Do you love Me more than these other men love Me?" The latter is the most likely in view of the fact that Peter had boastfully stated he would never forsake the Lord (Luke 22:33). Jesus, in the first two instances uses the word agape for love, which has the meaning of "full and complete devotion and respect with all your will." Peter responds with the word phileo which has the meaning of "the close love of a friend with the emotions."
The conversation probably went something like this: "Peter, do you love Me with your full devotion more than these others do?" "Yes, Lord, You know that I love You as my close Friend." "Feed My lambs ... Peter, do you love Me with your full devotion?" "Yes, Lord, I love You as my dear Friend." "Feed My sheep ... Peter, do you really love Me as a dear Friend?" Jesus was calling Peter to more than friendship. He was calling him to a life of service that required not just emotion but the will. At this third inquiry Peter was grieved. Jesus had now used the same word for love as Peter had and seemed to be questioning him even at this level of love. Perhaps, too, this threefold question reminded Peter of his threefold denial of Christ a few days earlier. However, these words of Jesus penetrated Peter's heart and he became a faithful Apostle and shepherd of God's flock (1 Peter 5:2-4). Peter truly did learn to love Christ with his complete devotion and will. Tradition tells us that Peter, too, was crucified for his testimony of Jesus.
- Make a water and fish chart (see Patterns). Cut the water out of light blue construction paper and glue it to a sheet of yellow paper. Cut a piece of 4" x 8" nylon net. Fold in half lengthwise and staple ends and bottom to the water. Have the open edge of the net at the top. Cut as many fish as you want from gray construction paper and place inside of the net. Across the top, print the words WE CAN WORSHIP JESUS BY BEING FISHERS OF MEN. While telling the story of the disciples' fishing and Jesus' calling to them, let the children write on the back of the fish the names of people whom they could invite to Sunday school—family, friends, and others—so they can hear about Jesus. This is what Jesus told the disciples and Peter—to go and tell others.
- Take to class a “fish net" (nylon netting) and Pepperidge Farm (or other) fish-shaped crackers or cookies. See how many fish the kids can "catch" by answering questions concerning the lesson. More fish can be added to the catch (put in the net) by making suggestions of things we can do that make Jesus happy and show our love for Him. This could also be made into a game or contest by dividing the group. Divide the crackers/cookies afterwards so each student has some whether or not he was able to answer a question. Perhaps the fish net could be given as a prize to the student with the most correct answers or suggestions.
- Give each child a number of cut-out figures with a name sign (see Patterns). Help them write a name in each sign of someone they might tell about Jesus. Let them take the figures home, and bring them back when each person represented has been told about Jesus or invited to church. You may wish to post the returned figures on a class board.
- Bring construction paper, stickers, and bits of trim to class. Let each child make a personalized invitation to give to someone, inviting him/her to church or some special activity of the Sunday school. Be sure that each invitation includes the necessary information: who, what, where, when and why.
- Run off a number of the Bible-verse slips (see Patterns), so that each student has several. They may be reproduced on colored paper, or the students may color them. Have the children write verses on these and give them to acquaintances that they wish to tell about Jesus. Have a number of suggested verses written out for the children to copy, or allow them to select their own favorites.
- Bring a complete table setting to class. Explain how each piece has its use, and all the uses are a little different. Jesus has a use for each one of us too.
- What did Jesus mean when He told Peter to "Feed my sheep"?
- Why is it important to work for Jesus?
- To have J-O-Y you must serve Jesus first, then others, then yourselves. Tell some ways you can serve Jesus by helping others.
- Why did Jesus call Christians His lambs and sheep?
- What is the best way to tell others about Jesus?
- Why did Jesus ask Peter how much he loved Him?
- Is it possible for us to love things more than Jesus? Explain.
- Why didn't Jesus stay down here on this earth and be a King?
- What are some jobs He wants us to do?
- How old must you be to work for Jesus?
- Show pictures of small children sharing, being kind, etc. These are ways they can work for Jesus. Or you may wish to use small dolls to dramatize these situations.
- Ahead of class time, arrange a number of small tasks for the children to do, making sure there will be one job for everyone. Some suggestions: Pass out stickers, dust bench, put something on the bulletin board, pass out treats. As each job is done, compliment them on working for Jesus, and pin an I'M JESUS' HELPER badge on them (see Patterns).
- Bring a number of objects to class which must be used in order to be worthwhile. Some examples: pen (must have hand), bike (needs hands and feet). We, too, should be used by Jesus so that we will be worthwhile.
- Trace around each child's hand onto a sheet of construction paper. Provide them with blunt scissors to cut out the hands. On each hand, write the words, LITTLE HANDS CAN WORK FOR JESUS.
- Make a felt fish with "scale" pockets and button eye (see Patterns). Inside each pocket put a suggestion on being "fishers of men"; i.e., tell your friends that Jesus loves them, invite others to Sunday school, share with others so they will know you love Jesus.
Have a church-like service. For the testimony period sing, "Stop and Let Me Tell You." After singing the word "stop," wait for someone to testify. This could be the teacher, a student, or perhaps an adult guest. If the children are shy, help them by asking them to tell you something for which they are thankful to Jesus. For instance, Mom and Dad, house, pet, doll, health, or friends.
Another possibility along this line is using the song, "Kids of the Kingdom." Each child could say his name, after every few names, sing, "We Love the Lord."
Use a pair of scissors which have been separated. One half is God and the other half is us. It takes both pieces together to get the job done.