Published: September 29, 2023
In this Bible lesson, kids explore Jesus’ power as they experience a storm.
Scripture: Matthew 8:23-27
- Life Savers candies (1 per child)
- 2 box fans
- extension cords so you can position the fans
- helper to turn a fan on and off
- 2 clean spray bottles filled with water
- life preserver or life jacket
- copy of the “Official Fan Club Cue Card”
Life Savers candies are available by the bag in individually wrapped packages. You can save time by using individually wrapped Life Savers for this activity. If you purchase Life Savers in rolls, plan to unwrap them ahead of time and store them in a resealable bag.
Before kids arrive, set box fans on both sides of your storytelling area aiming slightly up so they’ll blow directly over the kids. You may need to readjust the direction of the fans depending on where kids sit, so allow for adjustments. Set a spray bottle of water beside each fan.
Give your helper a copy of the “Official Fan Club Cue Card,” and ask your helper to stand near one fan. You’ll operate the other fan during the instant Bible drama.
When the children arrive, have them gather by the door.
Say: Welcome! Are you ready for a Bible adventure? Huddle the children around you, and say in a hushed voice: I sense rough seas ahead, so let’s stay close together. Let’s gather quickly in our story area. There are dark clouds on the horizon, and we don’t want to get caught in a storm at sea.
Lead the children into your room and weave a bit from side to side as you exclaim that the waves are high. Have kids sit close together on the floor between the two fans.
Open your Bible to Matthew 8, and show it to the kids.
Say: Today’s Bible story is found in the book of Matthew, chapter 8. The book of Matthew is great because it’s all about what Jesus did, who he hung out with, and what people learned from him.
Today is all about a day in Jesus’ life. The day started in a little town next to the Sea of Galilee. A lot of Jesus’ disciples grew up around the Sea of Galilee; some of Jesus’ disciples—like Peter, James, and John—had worked as fishermen. They knew all about how dangerous it was to be on the water in a little boat when a storm came up.
On this particular day Jesus had spent hours teaching people about God and healing sick people. You see, sometimes when people were sick, they came to Jesus because they knew Jesus was powerful. They knew Jesus could heal them. These were people who trusted God.
By the end of the day, Jesus was exhausted.
Now we’ll find out what happened next, and we’ll find out by being in a play. Don’t worry, there aren’t any lines to learn—but you each have a role to play!
Prepare for the Storm
Say: Everyone, I need you to scoot around so you’re lined up shoulder-to-shoulder to each other. Make several lines facing me, as if you’re sitting in a row of chairs. Now scoot close together so you can put your arms around the shoulders of the people next to you. If you’re at the end of a line, you’ll have your arm around just one person. Pause as kids get situated. If you have adult or teen volunteers in your classroom, position them in the middle of each row.
When everyone is in position, select a confident, dramatic child to play the part of Jesus. You may also choose to include your children’s ministry director, pastor, or other church leader to play the part. Position “Jesus” at the front of the room next to you, facing the children.
Say: You’re all playing the part of the disciples in our play. You need to stay seated, hang on to your fellow disciples, and remain quiet as you play your parts. Listen closely to hear what you’re supposed to do. Jesus, you’ll have some actions to do, too, so get ready.
Instant Drama: Scared at Sea
Read this script as kids act it out. Be sure to pause to give time for each action.
Say: Jesus had spent the day talking with the crowd. Teaching and healing the sick who were brought to him. See how he’s standing and waving his arms as he teaches? See how he is bending over and placing his hand on the shoulder of sick child?
He’s had a long day of helping others. Finally, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples. The disciples just sat there. They were used to being in a boat because some of them were fishermen. Jesus got into the boat and yawned. He lied down and soon he fell asleep.
The disciples looked up. See them looking up? They are looking up because they see clouds forming. Storm clouds.
Now the wind is beginning to blow. The boat is rocking so the disciples are rocking, too. First left. See how they lean left? And then right. See how they lean right? And now left, right, then left, then right, then left, then right, then right again. Waves can be tricky.
And now the wind is growing strong. See how the disciples are looking afraid? They have the best scared expressions on their faces. See how they are looking at each other? They’re worried the boat might tip over and sink.
And now the wind is tearing in the boat. They’re leaning as far right as they can. Now they are leaning as far left as they can. Now they are leaning as far forward as they can.
Jesus Calms the Storm
Say: Waves are crashing over the sides of the boat. The disciples are shaking with fear.
The disciples wake Jesus and say, “Lord Save us we’re going to drown!” He yawns and stretches. He’s not afraid at all. Jesus looks at the disciples and says, “You of little faith. Why are you so afraid?”
Now Jesus is standing tall. He’s facing into the wind and the storm. He lifts one hand. He’s telling the storm to stop. Stop fans. Pause for a few seconds, listening to the silence.
And the storm stops. The wind is still. The waves are still. The disciples are still. They look at each other with their mouths hanging open. Let’s see some open mouths, disciples.
And they say, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.”
After the instant drama, lead kids in giving themselves a hand.
Talk About the Storm
Then have kids form pairs to discuss the following questions. After each question, invite partners to share their answers with the rest of the class.
- What’s the biggest storm you’ve ever seen? How did you feel?
- Who is a person you trust? Why do you trust this person?
- Do you think God can be trusted? Why or why not?
- How does it feel knowing the same Jesus who could calm waves and wind cares for you, too?
Jesus, Our Lifesaver
Hold up a life preserver or life jacket.
Say: When the disciples were afraid their boat would sink, they must have wished they had lifesavers like this one to keep them safe. Lifesavers help us feel safe because we trust them to keep our heads above the water if we fall into deep water. We have a lifesaver we can trust when it feels like we’re in trouble, too: Jesus. I’ll remind each of you that you have a trustworthy lifesaver by sharing a Life Savers candy with you today.
Before I pass out the candy, please pray with me. Thank God for loving the children and for being our lifesaver. Ask for God to be in the heart and life of each child.
When you’ve finished praying, say, “[child’s name], trust Jesus as your lifesaver” as you hand a candy to that child.
When all kids have received their candy, say: As you enjoy your candy treat, remember that you also have a lifesaver: Jesus!
This lesson comes from Large-As-Life Bible Adventures: Wild But Real. Where you can turn your Bible lessons into surprising Bible adventures. Kids in grades K-6 hear about the stories in the Bible… but what happens when they live them? The stories become reality as kids discover every thrilling twist and turn for themselves!
For more ideas on Jesus’ miracles, check out these posts!
© Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use or duplication permitted.