Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Jonah and Nineveh

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God’s Grace Extends Beyond Israel’s Borders

 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16

(Open the bible and read to your child the book of Jonah) Jonah was a prophet, who God wanted to use to save the city of Nineveh. This city was so wicked that Jonah didn’t want to go there, so he fled from God on a ship headed the opposite direction. As we know, God will pursue us, and the same was true for Jonah. God made a storm so severe that the people on the ship grew fearful. This caused them to throw Jonah overboard, which immediately calmed the sea. Jonah was swallowed by a fish, and stayed in the belly for three days. Afterwards, Jonah warned the city of Nineveh and they repented. However, Jonah was angry because he felt they should perish. God reminded Jonah that he loves all of us, and will pursue all of us in order for us to spend eternity with him.

The Jesus Connection:
Read Matthew 12:39–40. Jesus tells us that the three days Jonah spent in the belly of a fish was a picture foretelling the time that Jesus’ crucified body would be in the grave before the resurrection. God had a plan to rescue Jonah from his sin of disobedience. God’s plan for Jonah involved three days swallowed up in a fish. Jonah found his salvation in God. In the end Jonah was released and went on to preach repentance to Nineveh. God has a plan to rescue us from our sin through Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and spent three days in the grave swallowed up by death. But death could not hold him, and on the third day he rose again. Now the message of repentance and faith in Christ is proclaimed all over the world. The question for us is, will we trust in him?


The Miraculous Catch

Our hope is for our kids to know that: When Jesus called the Disciples with power, they could not resist  

17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Mark 1:17 (NIV)

(Open the bible and read to your child Luke 5:1-11) Large crowds would gather to listen to Jesus teach. It was during one of these teachings that Jesus went into a boat and pushed away from shore a little bit. This was so the crowds could see and hear him. Peter was nearby cleaning his nets after having an unsuccessful time trying to catch fish. When Jesus finished teaching he asked Peter to let down his nets into the water. Peter explains that he had fished all night with no success. Also it made little sense to fish in the middle of the day, since night time and early mornings are the best time to catch fish. However, Peter followed the instructions and lowered his nets. When he pulled them up the nets were full, so much so that they began to break. After this miracle Jesus told Peter that he would become fishers of men. At that point Peter followed Jesus and his ministry. Peter had seen enough to know that this was the messiah, he couldn’t resist following Him.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption? Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. In our story today, Jesus seeks out a man named Peter and a few of his fishing companions and calls them to join him in his mission to reach the world. Though they were accustomed to netting fish, Jesus told them they were called to catch men (Luke 5:10). Like Peter, whom the Lord did not condemn for his sin, they would join Jesus in calling others. The picture of the nets, bursting with fish, depicts the kingdom of God. Through his death on the cross, Jesus would call men from every tribe, language, and nation. This catching of men would only be possible through the grace of God available through Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection.
Jesus called other men as well and they responded and followed him. For instance, when Jesus told Nathanael where he had been earlier in the day–before they met–and went on to describe the setting, Nathanael was amazed. He instantly believed and praised Jesus, saying, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).

Jesus Feeds the Multitude  

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The Life and Ministry of Christ is Sufficient to Feed All

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35 (NIV)

(Open the bible and read to your child John 6:1-15) Jesus began to have a huge following because of the many teachings, healings, and other miracles he performed. People wanted to see who this Jesus was for themselves. One time after a long day of teaching, the disciples encouraged Jesus to send everyone away because it was approaching supper time. Instead of sending them away Jesus asked if anyone had any food. One boy volunteered his meal which consisted of a few fishes and loaves. This certainly could not feed the multitude of people, because thousands were in attendance! Jesus told them to be seated and instructed the disciples to begin passing out the food. As they handed out the food they realized it they weren’t running out. When they were finished everyone was feed and had plenty! There were even leftovers! Jesus once again demonstrated his power and proved that he was God!

The Jesus Connection:
In John 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Jesus’ providing food for the five thousand is a picture of a greater salvation he would bring. He is not just the multiplier of the fish and the loaves. He himself is the Bread of Life. John 6:40 continues, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The disciples, with but a few loaves and fish, could not feed the thousands gathered. What an apt picture of our inability to save ourselves. But if we turn to Jesus, he has the power to supply what we need. Just as Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves to feed the multitude, so today he offers us himself.

Jonah Complains About God’s Compassion

Key Verse

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”
(2 Peter 3:9)

Our hope is for kids to know that: God wants us to love everyone

(Open the bible and read to your child Jonah 3:10-4:11) Jonah had just completed the task that God had asked him to do. As a result the entire city of Nineveh turned form their ways and were saved. This made Jonah angry. He thought the Ninevites should be punished for all the bad that they did. In Jonah’s eyes it wasn’t fair that the Ninevites escaped punishment. God was not pleased with Jonah’s bad attitude, he should be happy that the people of the city were saved! What made it worst was when Jonah complained about the vine withering away. He cared more about the vine than he did the people of Nineveh! God wanted Jonah to have compassion for the people of Nineveh, just as God has compassion on us.

(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Describe a time you treated a difficult person with kindness and patience.How did the person respond? Talk with your kids about why it’s sometimes difficult to be kind to certain people. Ask your kids to tell about people they have a hard time loving. Then have your family members each share one way they can be compassionate and show God’s love to that person this week.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Gather your family and go online and search for news stories describing people in need of compassion. Ask family members to choose the news stories that prompt a feeling of compassion in them. Give everyone a chance to choose at least three stories. It would be ideal if everyone could choose a local, national, and international news story of people needing compassion. When everyone has identified three news stories, talk about the following: • What type of news stories prompted feelings of compassion in you? Did you find it easier to care about local people or people far away? Explain. We can always show compassion by praying for people in need. Take a few moments now and pray for the people in the news stories.

Jesus Saving Time

Key Verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
(John 3:16)

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God meets our needs

(Open the bible and read to your child John 6:1-15) After Jesus spent time teaching the crowds they followed him up on the mountainside. It was time for a meal, so they were perplexed on how they were going to feed the crowd which consisted of ten to fifteen thousand people if you count women and children. One boy had a lunch that was provided for him, a few pieces of bread and two small fish. Jesus was able to use the lunch to feed the entire crowd. This showed the disciples and all those around that Jesus could provide all of our needs!  

(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Talk about a time your family had a specific need and you saw God provide for you. Maybe God provided necessary food through a meal from a friend. Or perhaps God provided money for a bill through an unexpected bonus at work. Encourage your kids to think of other examples of when they saw God’s provision in their lives. Then ask your children to share needs they have right now, and pray together that God will provide according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Get together with your family this week and have each person draw a picture of their trust level for God to meet his or her needs. For example, if a family member has deep trust in God, he or she could draw a picture of hugging God. Or if a family member feels far away, he or she could draw God on one side of the paper and himself or herself at the other end. Then talk about how each person got to that trust level and what, if anything needs to change.