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Amazing Bible heroes teach us how God can use each of us to be an everyday hero for Him!
Each Bible lesson in this series connects a Bible Hero to well-known Super Hero in an effort to engage kids and youth with what they know from the movies & comics to the truth we can find in God's Word.
Bible Heroes Lesson Summary: Character study on Peter. Peter was one of Jesus' closest disciples; yet Peter didn't always do things right. Jesus never gave up on Peter though, and He doesn't give up on us!
Time/Audience: This lesson took about 40 minutes with a group of 12 third and fourth graders. It is easily adaptable to be used with both younger children and youth.
Bible Lesson Preparation: A ball of string or yarn for the introductory activity.
Bible Lesson Scriptures: Matthew 14, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 21
Bible Hero Lesson Key Takeaway: Even as believers in Christ, we still make mistakes. God never gives up on us though; we just need to turn back to Him!
Have students sit in a circle. Hand a ball of string to one person. Instruct them to hold on to the end of the string and toss the ball to another person. Each time the next person will hold their piece of the string tightly and continue tossing the ball until you have a very tangled "spider web."
You can add additional instructions for the next toss such as -
When finished, leave the web for the final activity with the memory verse.
Do you have any idea of who Peter Parker is? What if I told you he was an ordinary, “nerdy” high school kid with problems fitting in just like everyone else?! Still no clue?
What if I told you that Peter got bitten by a radioactive spider and his life was changed? Oh…now you know?! Yes, we know him as Spiderman!
Peter gained amazing powers like spinning webs from his hands and climbing up the sides of buildings, but he still struggled at times. If you saw him in the Marvel movies with the Avengers, you saw he could still be pretty clumsy and not always make the best decisions. He still had a lot of learning to do in order to control and use his powers for good.
Peter in the Bible was similar in many ways. He was an ordinary fisherman until he met Jesus and became one of Jesus' closest disciples. He still made a lot of mistakes and unwise decisions though. Jesus never gave up on Peter though, and He never gives up on us! Peter learned to always turn back to Jesus for true strength.
I always like to let my students know it is okay to use the Table of Contents in their Bibles if they are not sure where a Book of the Bible is.
For this lesson we'll be using all four of the Gospels found at the beginning of the New Testament. The word "gospel" means good news. God used four different men to write accounts of the life of Jesus here on this earth.
Let's look at three different times our Bible hero, Peter, stumbles in his following and trusting Jesus. As we do, we'll also see how Jesus reaches out to Peter and restores Peter to walking with Him. Jesus doesn't give up on him!
Read Matthew 14:22-33 which tells us the story of when the disciples were in a boat and Jesus comes to them walking on the water. They were afraid, but Jesus tells them who He is and not to be afraid. Then our Bible hero, Peter, speaks up:
"And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Having courage doesn't mean we aren't afraid; courage does what is needed in spite of fear. At first Peter seems so confident and brave, but then he becomes afraid and begins to sink. Fear can take us down every time if we let it.
Peter overcame fear at first because his focus was on Jesus; he walked on water as he came to Jesus. But then his focus changed; he saw the wind and became afraid. When Peter's focus was on Jesus, he was trusting in Jesus' ability, but when the wind came, Peter focused on his own inability.
Peter then called out to Jesus, and Jesus immediately reached out his hand to help Peter.
Peter turned back to seeking Jesus' help, and Jesus was there!
When we find ourselves "overboard" and sinking in worries and fear, we also can turn back to seeking Jesus' help, and He will be there every time!
Read Mark 14:32-42 which takes place just after Jesus has washed the disciples' feet and served the Last Supper to them. He has now invited His three closest friends, Peter, James and John to be with Him as He goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
We see our Bible hero, Peter, again has lost focus.
"And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus returned from praying three times and every time these closest to Him had fallen asleep. Jesus did not just walk away and leave them there; He told them to come with Him.
Bible Heroes don't have supernatural strength or no need for rest; they are human. Each Bible Hero we've studied has proven to be "ordinary" and "lacking", until they rely solely upon God for their every need.
And God always comes through.! He is "El Gibbor" or "Strong God Who Rescues"; He is the truest Hero there is!
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you men like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail; and you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death!” 34 But He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
Luke 22:54-62 gives us the account of how this actually played out exactly as Jesus said. Verse 61 tells us Jesus looked at Peter just after the rooster crowed and Peter remembered Jesus' words and wept bitterly.
I am sure at this point Peter felt like a complete failure. Have you ever felt like you totally bombed on something and there was no hope?
John's Gospel continues this story. In John 21:3, it seems Peter has given up and retreated to his comfort zone of fishing.
"Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are also coming with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing."
Continue reading John chapter 21. The story will seem familiar as these fishermen catch nothing until Jesus shows up on the beach and calls to them to throw their nets on the other side. Such a similar circumstance to when Jesus first called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him to begin with. (Luke 5)
Jesus calls our Bible hero, Peter, back to another chance. Even when Peter seems to have given up on himself, Jesus hasn't given up on him. Peter denied Jesus three times, and here we see Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him three times. Jesus reaches out once again and restores Peter to ministry, to the call to follow Jesus, trust Him and share His love with others.
Later in Acts 2 we see Peter preach such an amazing sermon that thousands trusted in Jesus as their Savior and Lord. God fulfilled His plan for Peter in spite of Peter's failings and fears.
As we've seen, Bible heroes don't always do the right thing; they're not perfect and neither are we. The Good News is we have a perfect Heavenly Father Who never gives up on us. Jesus continues to reach out to us and call us back to the best place to be in our lives - closer and closer to Him.
Peter was an ordinary guy until he met Jesus, but even then he wasn't perfect and didn't always do the right thing. God had plans for Peter and God has plans for each of us. Jesus never gives up on us even when we are afraid, tired or fail miserably. All we have to do is turn back to Him; He's always there to reach out and help us.
True Bible Heroes find their strength in Christ, and we can too!
1. What happened when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking at the strong winds and waves around him?
2. How many times did Peter and the others fall asleep? How many times did Peter deny Jesus? How many times did Jesus ask if Peter loved Him?
3. When we fail or disappoint God, what should we do?
"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
Again sit in a circle with students, as you talk about the truth found in our memory verse, work together to untangle the messy web of string from the introductory activity.
Then end in prayer thanking God for always reaching out to rescue us!
© Copyright 2021, Susan Smart Permission granted for personal use or small group only.
Access the rest of our Super Bible Heroes lesson series with other super heroes connected to true Bible heroes and truths from God's Word to help kids learn how they can stand firm and be a hero for God!
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