Turning to Jesus! Story Three
A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America
Story Two: A Hard Day of Miracles
Daily Theme: Faith is trusting and obeying Jesus rather than what we see
Teaching Technique: Acting it out; Pantomime
- Miracle 1: the feeding of the 5,000
- Jesus is followed into the wilderness by a great crowd of people
- The disciples face the question of feeding the crowds
- Jesus feeds everyone with 5 loaves and 2 fishes
- Transition: You would have thought they had learned a great lesson, but later that night...
- Miracle 2: Jesus walks on water
- Jesus sends the disciples homeward in a boat
- Toiling in the darkness into a stormy wind the disciples see Jesus walking toward them and are afraid.
- Peter trusts Jesus to walk toward him, then begins to sink
Lesson: "They forgot the lesson of the loaves"
Clear an area so the children can move around, then seat everybody on the floor in a circle. Be prepared to go through each story several times with different children taking the leads. Briefly read to the children Mark 6:30-44. Then select several children to act out the roles of Jesus and two or three disciples, the rest of the children will be the crowd. Act as Narrator using a simplified version of the story, letting the children go through the motions of the story acting out their hunger, eating and being satisfied, as the leads say their lines. Each time have the children count the loaves and fishes, and pretend to count the people: "1,000...2,000...etc" out loud.
As you proceed, verbally and in acting the story out, impress on the children the facts of the miracle:
After going though the story 2-3 times, you will find other children still wanting a turn as the lead characters. Let them have their chance with the second story.
- A very great crowd of people.
- a Desert place
- Inadequate food supplies.
- The test of the disciples: "You give them something to eat."
- The available resources: 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes.
- The arranging of the people in groups.
- Baskets of leftover scraps.
Then comes the transition: "Children, you would have thought that the disciples would have learned a great lesson from what Jesus did: That Jesus, being God's Son, could take care of them. Feeding all those people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes seems impossible, but Jesus can do impossible things. The disciples had helped him as he did this great miracle.
But that night, as the disciples were rowing the boat across the Sea of Galilee, they forgot all about what happened that day. They forgot that Jesus would and could take care of them."
Read to the children: Mark 6:45-50; Matt 14:28-31; Mark 6:51-52. Line up all the children in two rows and have them practice "rowing". Then Narrate the story in simple words, allowing a couple of children to play the parts of Jesus and Peter, encouraging the children to act out the hard work of rowing, the tossing of the boat, the fear of the storm and darkness and also their fright at Jesus' appearance, as well as the sudden calm.
Again go through the story several times, with different children each time, impressing on them as you go that:
Jesus deliberately sent them off without Him.
- The size of the lake and their distance from land
- The strong wind and rough sea.
- The darkness.
- Their fears: (of the storm, darkness, not having Jesus with them, seeing a "ghostly appearance").
- They shouldn't have been afraid after seeing the miracle of the loaves.
- Peter's faith in stepping out.
- His lapse of faith upon looking away from Jesus.
- The sudden calm in the seas.
- That Jesus was watching over them even though he wasn't with them. (Vs 48).
- That the disciples had not been trusting Jesus in the boat (Vs 52).
If time permits, do the entire story of both miracles from beginning to end.
The children will get to know these stories quite well with this teaching method. They love participation stories. Make application as you go through the story for the children. "Can Jesus take care of your needs? What are you afraid of? Does Jesus know when you are in danger? etc."