When One Teaches, Two Learn

Figuring out children's ministry one day at a time

A Miraculous Catch – John 21:1-25

on September 8, 2012

Last Sunday, we started a new sermon series at our church on the book of Acts entitled “Swell.”  We will be talking about the growth of the church throughout the book and, as a prologue, we started off with John 21 and the story of the miraculous catch of fish, as the large catch of fish seems to foreshadow the tremendous growth of the church that was about to occur.  Each Sunday, I create a children’s church lesson that parallels the sermon, so for the next few weeks I will be posting my lesson plans on the book of Acts.

The only downside to posting this lesson plan is that I neglected to take pictures of the  set-up because it was quite fun!  I hope that the ideas here will serve as a great launching point for you.

Goal: Today we will discover how Jesus cleanses our hearts from sin as we learn about Peter’s restoration.

Key Scripture:  “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.” – John 21:11, NIV

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Nets
  • Seashells and other beach décor
  • Red, orange, and yellow tissue paper
  • Cooling rack
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Several red balloons
  • Masking tape
  • Shaving cream
  • Spray bottles

Introduction:  Before the lesson begins, you will need to create two separate areas in the classroom.  Use the cardboard and nets to set-up one area to look like a boat.  On the opposite side of the room, create a beach scene.  Use the seashells to mark off the beach area.  In the middle of the beach area, set up a campfire area.  Scrunch up the tissue paper to make it look like a small fire.  Place the cooling rack over the “fire.”

Begin the lesson by asking the children what they know about the disciple Peter.  When someone mentions Peter’s denial of Jesus, review the story as you will be drawing parallels between that story and the lesson today.

Lesson:  Move to the boat area.  Remind the children that even though Jesus had been resurrected, Peter had not yet had a chance to have forgiveness from Jesus.  He probably felt that same pit in the bottom of his stomach that they feel when they have done something wrong.  So, Peter decided to try to do something normal to take his mind off of things: fishing.  And his friends went with him.

Explain that before they followed Jesus, Peter and several of his friends were fishermen, so this was something that they knew how to do.  But, they fished for most of the night, but didn’t catch anything (For fun, you can pretend to throw the nets over the side of the boat and pull them back in).

Tell the children that early in the morning a man appeared on the shore, but the disciples didn’t know who the man was (Have the children wave in the direction of the beach area).  Explain that the man called out to them and asked, “Have you caught any fish?”  Ask the children if the disciples had caught any fish (Have the children call out in the direction of the beach area, “No!”).  Tell the children that the man on the shore told the disciples to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.  Explain that when the disciples did so, they caught so many fish that they couldn’t even pull the net into the boat.  Suddenly, the disciples realized that the mystery man was Jesus!

At this point, pause to sing a song.  To hear the melody and see the motions, see this website: http://missionbibleclass.org/songs/songs-a-h/fished-all-night-and-caught-no-fishes/.  Here are the lyrics:

Fished all night and they caught no fishes (3x)

Out on the deep blue seas

Then came Jesus walking by the water (3x)

Out on the deep blue seas

Cast your nets on the other side (3x)

Out on the deep blue seas

Then their nets were filled with fishes (3x)

Out on the deep blue seas

Explain that Peter was so excited to see Jesus that he jumped into the water and swam to shore.  Pretend to swim with the children from the boat area to the beach area and sit in a circle around the campfire area.  Explain that Jesus had some fish and bread ready for breakfast when the disciples came to shore.  Serve the children goldfish crackers (Our kids put their cups of goldfish crackers on the cooling rack to pretend that they were cooking their fish!).

Tell the children that after they ate, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” and that Peter answered “Yes.”  Then, Jesus told Peter, “Take care of my sheep.”  Explain that Jesus repeated this exchange two more times.  The first time Peter was probably confused, but the third time he was hurt that Jesus felt he needed to ask again.  Then, Peter realized that just as he had denied Jesus three times, Jesus had just given him three chances to tell Jesus that he loved Him.

Game Time:  Inflate several red balloons and tape them to a table.  Use masking tape to mark a line on the ground about five feet from the table.  Fill several spray bottles with water.  Have the kids line up behind the masking tape line.  Cover the front of each balloon with shaving cream.  As you do this, say, “Let’s pretend these balloons are our hearts and these blobs are sin.”  Give each child a spray bottle.  Explain that they’ll have fifteen seconds to spray as many of the blobs from the balloons as possible.  If the group is rather large, have the children rotate through in groups so everyone has a chance to try.  After the “hearts” have been washed clean, talk about how Jesus forgave Peter and will forgive us too


13 responses to “A Miraculous Catch – John 21:1-25

  1. […] entitled “Swell.” If you missed the first two lessons in this series, you can find them here and here. We started into the second chapter with the story of the arrival of the Holy Spirit at […]

  2. […] you would like to see more from our study on the book of Acts, check out Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 3.  I’d love to hear your feedback! Share this:Like this:LikeBe the […]

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