Family Sunday School Devotional for August 23
“Jesus Walks on Water” from Matthew 14
Listen to- “You Are the Christ” by Jami Smith here:
and- “Jesus” by Chris Tomlin here:
Supplies Needed- For younger kids: tub of water, bowl made of foil, marbles or small stones or pennies; for older kids: none needed
Summary- Jesus showed He is God by walking on water.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- Sink the Bowl Set up tub of water 2/3 full. Float a small bowl made from foil. Let children carefully place marbles or small stones or pennies in the foil bowl, one at a time until the bowl sinks. Say, “In our Bible story today one of Jesus’ friends, His disciple named Peter, walked on water with Jesus until he saw the wind and the waves. He was afraid and began to sink like our bowl. Listen to the story to hear how Jesus saved Peter.”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Walk on What? Guide kids to mimic you as you call out different surfaces and pretend to walk on them. Allow kids to also suggest surfaces to mimic walking on. Suggested surfaces: pavement, quicksand, slippery ice, very steep hill, water. Say, “Humans struggle to walk on some surfaces, such as slippery things or hills that are too steep. One thing that people cannot walk on is water. Our bodies are much too dense, and our feet push right through the surface. Today, we will learn about a time Jesus miraculously walked on water anyway.”
Big Picture Question- Say, “Our Big Picture Question asks: Why did Jesus perform miracles? The answer to our question is: Jesus performed miracles to glorify God, to show He is the Son of God, and to care for people. Whenever Jesus did something by God’s power that would normally have been impossible, it communicated wonderful things about Jesus. His miracles met people’s physical needs and showed that He is the Messiah, God’s Son. Not only is He able to save us, He wants to as well!”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “A couple of weeks ago, we learned that Jesus calmed a storm to show the disciples He is God. Last week, we discussed how Jesus miraculously fed a crowd with five loaves and two fish. Immediately after that, Jesus sent His disciples back across the lake and stayed behind to pray. Another dangerous storm arose, but this time, Jesus wasn’t with the disciples.” Open a Bible to Matthew 14:22-36. Say, “The Bible is God’s Word, and God’s Word is true! Today’s true story about Jesus comes from the one of the Gospels- the Book of Matthew.” Read or tell the story in your own words from this passage (this story is not included in the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook).
Christ Connection- Say, “Jesus proved that He can be trusted. His miracles, teaching, death, and resurrection showed that He is who He says He is. Only Jesus can save us when we look to Him in faith. Whenever we struggle to trust God or feel doubts growing in our mind, we can turn to Jesus and pray. We can ask Him to give us more faith and protect us from our doubts.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to Psalm 40:5. Read the verses aloud. Say, “All of God’s plans are good. All of His actions are good. We can trust God because everything about Him is good! That was true when this psalm was written, it has been true ever since then, and it will be true forever.”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- *PreK- What did Jesus tell His disciples to do while He went to pray? (get into a boat, go to other side of the sea)
- *PreK- In the middle of the night, who did the disciples see? (Jesus)
- *PreK- What was Jesus doing? (walking on water)
- *PreK- Who also wanted to walk on water? (Peter)
- *PreK- Who saved Peter when he sank? (Jesus)
- Why did Jesus stay behind when the disciples crossed the lake? (Matthew 14:23)
- What did the disciples think they saw when Jesus walked on the water toward them? (Matthew 14:26)
- When did Jesus save Peter from drowning? (immediately after Peter called out to Him, Matthew 14:30-31)
- How was Peter able to walk on water? (Guide kids to discuss how Jesus’ power allowed Peter to walk on water. Remind the kids that impossible things can happen when God’s power is involved. Point out the correlation between Peter’s faith in Jesus while he walked on water and his fear of the storm when he sank. Discuss the importance of faith in our lives.)
- Is there anything we cannot do with God’s power? (Discuss the fact that God’s power is unlimited, but that doesn’t mean we can use Him for personal gain. Help kids see that testing the Lord is foolish and that anything He empowers us to do will be in line with His character and plans for the world.)
- When was the last time you trusted God to help you through a hard time? (Guide kids to discuss experiences they have had in which God helped them through a difficult situation. Share from your own experience.)
- Why did Jesus perform miracles? (Jesus performed miracles to glorify God, to show He is the Son of God, and to care for people.)
Say, “Jesus showed He is God by walking on water. Peter had faith that he could walk with Jesus on the sea, but when he focused on his fear, he began to sink. We can trust Jesus through our fears. He saves us.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- Why were Jesus’ disciples afraid when they saw Jesus walking on water? (Read Isaiah 40:26)
- How can we have courage in scary situations? (Remind kids of Jesus’ words to His disciples: “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Assure kids that they are not alone. Jesus is with them through the Holy Spirit. Encourage kids to keep their eyes on Jesus. We can rely on Him for strength and courage when we need it. Read Psalm 27:14)
- How can we encourage others to not give up during difficult times? (Help kids identify Jesus’ power and strength even when we are weak. Point out that when Jesus got into the boat, the wind stopped. Assure them that all believers can persevere in trails with the hope that one day, Jesus will return and bring ultimate peace, making every wrong thing right. We can pray for others and remind them of the truth about Jesus. Read James 1:5-6,12)
Reflection- Ask older children to answer one of the following questions:
- What does this story teach me about God or the Gospel?
- What does the story teach me about myself?
- Whom can I tell about this story?
Further Learning- Take about 15 minutes to do one of the activities from the 2020 Missions Conference At-Home from our church’s website. Many activities have internet links to view videos or see simple directions for crafts, science object lessons, music appreciation/interaction, cultural information, games, and food recipes. With a few extra minutes of planning, prepare for next week’s missions activity.
Pray- Thank God for being trustworthy. Thank Him for His Word, which shows us that Jesus is who He says He is. Pray for friends who need to look to Jesus in faith and be saved.
Adult Sunday School Devotional for August 23
“Jesus Walks on Water” from Matthew 14
Listen to- “Jesus” by Chris Tomlin here:
and- “Here Comes Jesus” from Shiloh Worship Music here:
Summary- Jesus revealed His power over nature, proving He is worthy of His followers’ faith and worship.
Christ Connection- Jesus demonstrated that He has sovereign power over nature by walking on water and calming the storm. Through His miracles, teaching, and most clearly His death and resurrection, Jesus proved Himself to be worthy of our faith and worship. He alone is able to save.
Point 1. Jesus is sovereign over life’s circumstances (read aloud Matthew 14:22-24).
Note- Jesus sent His disciples in a boat to the other side of the sea. Some of them were seasoned fishermen, so this scenario likely was nothing new to them, but to be in a boat miles from land in the midst of the storm is still unnerving, if not frightening to the core. Jesus sent them into this storm, but He is still always sovereign over life’s circumstances- He was and is sustaining all things even now (see Colossians 1:17), and His disciples are never out of His care (see John 10:27-28).
Prayer: Jesus, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, prayed to the Father, and we must as well. While our union with Christ cannot be shaken or taken away from us, our communion with Christ waxes and wanes. If we want to commune with the Lord, we must spend time with Him in prayer. For many Christians, prayer can be difficult. We lack diligence to pray consistently, our minds wander during prayer, we’re not sure exactly what to pray, we feel too embarrassed or dirty to talk to a holy God, our schedules are too busy, and so forth. There are a number of reasons we excuse ourselves from the life-giving exercise of talking with our God, but none of these are good for our souls. We are dependent creatures who need the sovereign Lord. Prayer is nothing less than a confession of our neediness. When we pray and seek the Lord, we recognize Him as the giver and sustainer of life.
Respond- How does prayer reflect one’s faith in Jesus’ sovereignty over life’s circumstances?
Point 2. Jesus calls us to have courage and faith in life’s circumstances (read aloud Matthew 14:25-31).
Note- Jesus was not riddled with terror at the winds nor did He tremble at the height of the waves. He walked across the surface of the sea the way we would stroll across a park. The disciples were fearful, frail men who had anxiety at the unknown, but Jesus walked on the tumultuous water as the One who owns the waves because He spoke the waters into being and set their boundaries (see Genesis 1:1-10). In this scene, there is enough wonder to keep theologians captivated for a lifetime, and yet, even a lifetime spent researching this phenomenon could not produce adequate words to describe the majesty of this physics-defying Savior who walked on water. Jesus’ command over every drop of water showed that He truly was- and continues to be- sovereign over all of life’s circumstances.
Respond- What are some ways our struggle with sin compares to Peter’s struggle with the sea?
Point 3. Jesus deserves worship as the powerful Son of God (read aloud Matthew 14:32-36).
Note- The signs and wonders Jesus performed pointed to Him as the Son of God. The disciples knew Jesus was the Son of God by virtue of His feeding a multitude with a few loaves and fish, His walking on water, and His miraculous healings. We have the added blessing of God’s Word to see Jesus’ incarnation, perfect life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection to know and believe this truth. While the miracle of walking on water led to a momentary confession of His lordship, Jesus’ greater miracle of saving us from our sin and shame leads to a lifetime and an eternity of our worshiping and confessing Jesus is Lord (see Romans 10:9).
Note- When the men of Gennesaret recognized Jesus, knowing of His power, keeping His arrival to themselves was not an option; they had to tell others. Once we’ve caught a vision of the beauty and glory of Jesus, we too find that the news of Jesus is just too good not to share. Those proclaiming Jesus knew that the sick were the ones who needed to see Him. Jesus Himself said that He came for the sick because the healthy need no physician (see Matthew 9:12). These men knew their sick friends and family needed to come face to face with the great Physician. And we know that our sin-sick friends and family need to come face to face with our great Savior in faith so they can be saved from their sins.
Respond- How have you experienced the power of Jesus so that you can share His good news with others?
Conclusion- In this passage we see Jesus as the sovereign Son of God, who controls all the particles of water in the Sea of Galilee and thus could walk on its surface. He calls us to trust in Him, with our gaze fixated on Him and not our obstacles. Yet even when our faith is frail and our doubt is strong, like Peter, He rescues us from our sinking, and in His miraculous acts and His miraculous salvation, we come to see Him as worthy of worship. Worshiping Jesus was the proper response of His disciples, and it is the proper response for you and me as well.
Apply- Because we have been saved from sin through the power of Christ, we display before a watching world our trust in God’s sovereignty and power in the midst of difficult circumstances.
-How does the power of Jesus as the Son of God instill faith in you for facing life’s circumstances?
-What are some ways your Christian community can help one another keep your eyes on Jesus?
-How will you use your personal experience of spiritual restoration through faith in Jesus to pursue the spiritual good of others by telling them about Jesus?
(Pray, thanking the Lord Jesus for saving you from sin through His cross and resurrection. Ask for help, like Peter, to cry out to Him in desperation when your faith begins to falter. Ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit to give you the faith to believe in Jesus, the Father’s eternal Son who has rescued you from sin and to deliver you from and preserve you through life’s most difficult circumstances.)