Turning to Jesus! Story One

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America

Story One: The fishermen who were caught

Daily Theme: Faith is believing and following Jesus

Teaching method - Stick puppets (Figures needed (each mounted on a popcycle stick): Jesus, Simon, Andrew, James and John; catch of fish (goldfish crackers?)), boat "holder" (loops on back to hold sticks), a small net; Perhaps a background picture of people on shore, viewed from the boat.

Story Summary:

  1. Simon mending nets while listening to Jesus teach
  2. Simon remembering how Andrew introduced him to Jesus
  3. Simon thinking about James and John, his friends
  4. Simon thinking about Jesus' call to follow Him.
  5. Simon thinking about fishing - "what does Jesus know?".
  6. Jesus gives Peter a miraculous catch of fishes.

1. One day Simon was sitting in the boat, mending his nets and, listening to Jesus teaching...

(Show boat with figures) Jesus was out in Simon's boat - teaching the people. It had gotten too crowded on the shore. Simon, having rowed Jesus out a ways from shore, thought it was a good time to mend nets - after all fishing was done at night, when the fish come up to feed at the surface. As he did he was listening to Jesus talk.

(Remove and hold up Jesus puppet) Jesus was teaching the crowd: "The time is now. God's kingdom is near. Repent and believe the good news...."

2. But now Simon's mind wandered....He was tired, they had fished hard all night the night before and hadn't caught a single fish. As Simon worked on the nets, he thought about how he had met Jesus a few months before:

(Remove and hold up Andrew, Jesus and Simon puppets as story progresses) - Andrew had been with the preacher John the Baptist who claimed to have baptized the Son of God. While Andrew was with him, John had pointed to Jesus and said "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

The next day Andrew and his friend Philip had spent with this carpenter from Galilee.

- How excited Andrew was - he had come running to Simon - "We've found the Messiah! The Christ God promised to save His people!"

How determined Andrew was that Simon meet Jesus. He had insisted he come and meet him (John 1:41, 42) And when Jesus was introduced to Simon - Simon felt like no one could have more love in his eyes than this man. Jesus had said something strange - "you will be called Peter (rock)" Now even his friends James and John were calling him "Peter".

3. As he now sat there Mending nets, listening to Jesus, Simon's mind wandered to his good friends James and John sitting on the shore in their boat. They could be home resting, but all they could talk about was what Jesus had asked them to do. They never missed a chance to listen to Jesus teach.

(show James, John and Jesus puppets as story progresses)

James and young John, the sons of Zebedee - they had often worked together. They could be mighty persuasive.

Jesus had said to them: "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." They were thinking about quitting fishing and going traveling with Jesus. Leaving their father to fish alone with his hired men! They would leaving everything to follow Jesus. But what did they know about traveling around as disciples?

And now even Andrew, his own brother was taking about do the same....

4. Simon began to think about what Jesus had said to them: "Come and follow me and I will make you Fishers of men"

Turn from everything and follow Jesus? That would not be an easy thing to do. But that's what Jesus meant when he called his disciples to repent - to turn away from everything else and to turn to him instead.

Peter thought "It would be hard to leave fishing - it has been the livelihood for the family for years. Who Will take care of my family? Fishing was hard work. The night before they had rowed and rowed, casting the net again and again, without catching a single fish. Jesus said to trust him."

5. What did Jesus know about fishing? What could he teach someone like Simon about fishing?

(Show Simon, boat and net)

Simon knew how to fish the sea of Galilee.

(Compare the parable of the nets: Matt 13:47-50)
But Jesus is talking about fishing for men? What did that mean?

6. But then Peter's thoughts were interrupted... Jesus had finished teaching. Now it is noon, Peter's nets were nearly mended, the crowds of people on shore starting to move around, lunch time. Jesus asks Simon to move the boat out to the deep water.

(Simon, Andrew and Jesus in the boat, cast out the net, add the fishes and bring up James and John to help as story progresses) But now Jesus turns to Simon with a loving twinkle in his eye, as if he knew Simon's very thoughts, and says: "cast your nets here".

You can imagine what Simon was thinking - "It's the wrong time, and the wrong place" - he knew that a person couldn't catch fish here now. "What does Jesus know about fishing? He's a carpenter. But everything else he says is so right. I'll believe him and do it." So he did what Jesus asked.

The Nets were suddenly so full!! Incredible!! The nets were beginning to tear. They needed help - they called to James and John to come help them - plenty of fish. Enough to take care of their families while they were away. The boat was so full of fish it was barely staying afloat.

Peter suddenly realized that this was God's Son! And he wasn't worthy to be a disciple. He said to Jesus "Depart from me - I'm a sinful man".

But Jesus said to Peter - "You have been a fisherman for fish, but now I want you to help me fish for men".

© 1989 Barry McWilliams and Mission Church Fellowship,
Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
For Permission to reproduce and use these materials and other information
Contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net