Lesson 7 : Watch For The Signs
Peter is probably best known for his biggest mistake—he denied Jesus three times. This story has been told many many times. What we don’t al- ways realize, though, is that even before Peter made this HUGE mistake, there were signs in his life that something was wrong. In this lesson, the children will learn about the attitudes and actions in Peter’s life that acted as “signs” that trouble was ahead. If he had paid attention to those “signs” and made some changes, he might have avoided the biggest mistake of his life. We must learn from Peter’s mistake and watch for “the signs” in our lives.
(Rod enters like he’s dizzy, swaying back and forth, spinning around and around)
Rod: Ahoy there, boys and girls!
(stumbles over to the Leader and grabs onto them, steadying himself)
Rod: Somebody stop the world, I wanna get off.
Leader: Hey everybody, it’s Rod Tacklebox. Are you okay buddy?
Rod: (goes cross-eyed, looks at the Leader) All three of you are wearing the same clothes!
Leader: Rod what are you talking about?
Rod: (shakes his head, eyes uncross) Oh! Hello there, landlubber, where’d the rest of you go?
Leader: Rod you’re acting a lot sillier than usual.
Rod: I’m very sorry, I’m just a little dizzy is all. It’s been a rough day!
Leader: Tell us what happened!
Rod: Well, my brother Reel and I were out fishing, and everything was nice and peaceful…when I noticed a SIGN floating out in the water!
Leader: A sign?? Out in the water?
Rod: Aye! Someone had tied a sign to a buoy! The sign said “GO BACK!”
Leader: “Go Back?” What did you do?
Rod: Well I told my brother that we better do what the sign says! But he just ignored it!
Leader: He ignored the sign?
Rod: Aye, that he did! He said that he could steer a boat better than anybody else and there was no need to worry! And then there was another sign “DANGER AHEAD! GO BACK!” He ignored THAT one! Then he ignored the NEXT sign! “WHIRLPOOL AHEAD! DANGER! GO BACK NOW!”
Leader: A whirlpool?! You mean those big dangerous spinning pools of water that can suck boats down to the bottom of the ocean?!
Rod: Aye! I said “Reel, you crazy cuttlefish, let’s get out of here!” He said “Ah, don’t pay no attention to them signs!” But he paid attention to the next sign.
Leader: What did it say?
Rod: “BYE-BYE!” As soon as he read it, we hit the whirlpool! We were spinnin’ faster and faster, like an octopus runnin’ a merry-go-round!
Leader: Oh no! What did you do?
Rod: I grabbed the captain’s wheel out of Reel’s hands, yanked it as hard as I could, and WOOSH! We shot outta there faster than a sailfish, spinnin’ the whole way!
Leader: Wow, your brother Reel really should have paid attention to those warning signs!
Rod: Aye, it’s a lot like what happened to our hero, Peter! There was a time in his life when he ignored warning signs and it almost landed him in a big heap of trouble!
Leader: That’s what we’re talking about today!
Rod: Well I don’t want to spoil anything! I’ll let you take it from here. I’ll see you later boys and girls! I’m gonna go sit in somethin’ that DOESN’T move! THERE SHE BLOWS, AND HERE I GO!
(Rod exits shakily, Leader turns him in the right direction)
Choose two boys and two girls to compete in this game. Choose a worker to be the “counter” for each team. Choose one child on each team to be the “shooter” and one child to be the “catcher.” Place the “shooters” approximately five feet away from the “catchers.” When you say “GO!”, the “shooters” have sixty seconds to toss as many grapes through the air and into the “catchers” mouth. The “catchers” can either chew the grapes or let them accumulate. At the end of the sixty seconds, the team that “caught” the most grapes wins!
Have you ever really messed up? I mean really messed up in life, made a huge mistake, and found yourself in all kinds of trouble?
What do you feel like when you have made a huge mistake? You know, when you thought you could get away with cheating on a test...but you got caught. Or maybe you thought no one would ever know that you watched that movie, but your parents found out. Or when you have made friends and hung out with the wrong kind of people and they have led you into all kinds of trouble and sin. What do you feel like when something like that happens and you know that you have failed? (have some of the kids talk about how they have felt when they have messed up)
You know, our friend, Peter, probably had some of those same kinds of feelings. On the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, he was arrested and taken to court. Peter was outside the court and was asked by several people if he knew Jesus. Three different times Peter was asked, “Are you one of the disciples of Jesus? Don’t you know Him?” Three different times Peter said, “No way! Not me! I have never met the man!” He even screamed and cursed when he was asked whether or not he knew Jesus. The same man who had spent three years of his life with Jesus, watching Him do miracle after miracle, denied ever even knowing Him.
How did this happen? How could Peter make such a HUGE mistake? How could he have spent all this time with Jesus and then find himself totally denying that he even knew Jesus? Did it “just happen?” Or was there a pattern that got him to that point? Can we learn anything by looking at the moments leading up to Peter’s denial? Let’s back up to the beginning of the story.
Earlier that night, Peter had been sitting around the table at the Last Supper with Jesus and the other disciples. Jesus told all of the disciples that this very night they would all fall away from Him.
Peter speaks up and says, “Not me, Lord. All of these other disciples may fall away from You, but I never will.” At that moment, Jesus says to Peter, “This very night, before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.” Peter responded, “No, Lord! Even if I have to die with you, I will NEVER deny You.”
Peter makes a very bad mistake that many of us make. It’s the first warning sign we see in Peter’s life that things just aren’t right. What’s the sign? It’s having the thought...
Peter had the thought that “It will NEVER happen to me! I will NEVER deny You, Jesus!” It’s the same attitude that many times we have. “It will NEVER happen to me! I will never smoke cigarettes.” “It will never happen to me! I will never steal something from the store.” We get in our minds that we could NEVER do something like that. It’s usually then, that we let our guard down thinking we would NEVER do something like that...then we find ourselves falling into that trap and doing the very thing we thought we would NEVER do.
What’s it called when we think, “It will NEVER happen to me?” It’s called PRIDE. The Bible says to watch out because “Pride comes before a fall.” When you think you are too good to ever fall into one of the devil’s traps...watch out! It’s then that you are a prime target for him to set a trap. We have to know that ANYTHING could happen to us, so we have to always be on the lookout for the devil’s traps and not let him catch us not paying attention because we were full of pride.
Well, Peter had another warning sign that we discover a little later. Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the disciples to pray. He left the disciples alone for awhile and went off to pray on his own. When he came back, the disciples (including Peter) were asleep.
He told them to watch and pray, and instead they fell asleep. What mistake was being made here? What warning sign do we see in Peter’s life?
Peter didn’t “feel like” praying, so he fell asleep. He was so sure of himself and thought he would NEVER fall away from God that he thought he didn’t need to pray. He wanted to sleep. He had worked all day and was tired, so instead of obeying Jesus and praying...he slept. That’s disobeying Jesus, isn’t it?
Many times we have the same warning sign in our lives. (hold up the Bible) We know that the Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” But, we really want that toy so we say, “I don’t want to obey the Bible!” And, we disobey and steal anyway. We know that Jesus wants us to love those who are our enemies, but we say, “I don’t want to.” So, we disobey and pick a fight with them anyway.
Whenever we choose to disobey God, it is ALWAYS a warning sign that there is a BIG failure coming. It was true for Peter, and it’s true for us. But, that’s not the only warning sign we see in Peter’s life. He not only was full of pride and said, “It will never happen to me.” He not only was full of disobedience and thought, “I don’t want to pray!” But, he made an even bigger mistake and showed another warning sign that problems were to come!
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter goes crazy and pulls out his sword. He swings it wildly and cuts off the ear of one of the servants of the High Priest. Jesus looks at Peter and says, “Put your sword away!” Jesus had taught Peter better than that. He had told him to love his enemies and not try to get revenge. Peter had his own plan. He figured his way was better. It’s one of the final warning signs we see before Peter made that terrible mistake of denying Jesus three times.
Why would Peter think that his little plan of cutting off the dude’s ear was better than Jesus’ plan? Who did he think he was, Zorro? Instead of following the way Jesus had taught him, Peter follows his own plan and tries to defeat the whole army by himself. What does he accomplish? He whacks a dude’s ear off. Whoopee!
Peter’s plan was about as good as our plans without God—FOOLISHNESS. Let’s say you have never been to the mall before. I know the way to the mall. I give you instructions. I even write them down for you in a book. But, halfway there you decide, “I’d rather find my own way to the mall. I know I’ve never been there, but I think I can figure this out. He doesn’t know what he is talking about. I’m going to ignore his directions and go my own way.” Would it be any surprise when that didn’t work out? Of course not. When you choose your own plan, you wind up in a bad place. It’s foolishness to think your plan is better than God’s plan.
Peter ended up following the soldier who took Jesus all the way to the courtyard where Jesus would be put on trial.
Several people came up to him and asked if he knew Jesus. Peter denied to all of them that he even knew Jesus. He screamed, cursed, and said, “I DON’T EVEN KNOW THE MAN!” Just then, Peter heard a sound. Suddenly, he remembered what Jesus had said earlier that night. “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
Peter realized at that moment he had failed Jesus. He had messed up so bad. He felt worthless. He felt like there’s no way he could go on like this. If only he had paid attention to the Warning Signs in his life and made the corrections he needed. Instead, he ignored the signs and failed Jesus very badly.
Boys and girls, we must learn from Peter’s mistakes. We must watch for the signs in our life that show us that some changes need to be made. If we choose to ignore the signs, we will fail. If we choose to pay attention to the signs and make the changes, we have a great chance of avoiding that failure! Let’s make a decision to WATCH FOR THE SIGNS!!!
(play soft music) Pray for the children who realize that they have some warning signs in their lives to deal with. Pray for all the others to ALWAYS watch for the warning signs in their lives!
What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: “I Will Watch For The Signs!”
Who had a bad attitude in Pete’s Diner in our video today? Answer: the boy
What was the first “Warning Sign” in Peter’s life? Answer: PRIDE—”It Will Never Happen To Me!”
What was the second “Warning Sign” in Peter’s life? Answer: DISOBEDIENCE—”I Don’t Want To!”
Jesus asked the disciples to pray. What did they do instead? Answer: sleep
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, what did Peter decide to do? Answer: pull out his sword and cut off a servant’s ear
What was the third “Warning Sign” in Peter’s life? Answer: Foolishness—”My Plan Is Better!”
How many times did Peter deny knowing Jesus? Answer: three
What sound did Peter hear right after he denied Jesus three times? Answer: the rooster crow
Where was our Power Verse found? Answer: Mark 14:38