Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. After Jesus rose from the dead, he reinstated Peter to leadership of the church by giving him three opportunities to express his love for Jesus. In this activity, children will try to knock down three cans labeled, “I don’t know him!” with beanbags or balls labeled, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”
- John 18:15-18
- John 18:25-27
- John 21:15-17
- 3 canned foods labeled, “I don’t know him!”
- 3 beanbags or balls labeled, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”
- Note cards or duct tape to use to label the cans and the beanbags/balls.
- 1 permanent marker for labeling
- 1 surface (like a overturned bucket or table) to set the cans on
- Masking tape
- Label the cans of food and the beanbags or balls.
- Select a space to play the game.
- Stack the three cans (two on the bottom and one on the top) on the bucket or table.
- Use the masking tape to lay down a “throwing line” about ten feet away from the cans. (The children will stand behind this line to make their throws.)
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Restored.’”
- “It’s about Jesus and Peter.”
- “Peter told Jesus one time that even if everyone else left Him, he never would.”
- “Peter even carried around a sword in case he needed to defend Jesus against an attacker.”
- “But one night, the Jewish leaders sent their guards to arrest Jesus.”
- “Peter attacked with his sword, but he hurt a servant instead of the guards.”
- “Jesus healed the man that Peter had cut and then let the guards arrest Him.”
- “Peter and all of Jesus’ best friends got scared and ran away.”
- “Peter followed the guards from a distance as they took Jesus to the Jewish leaders.”
- “The guards took Jesus to the house of the top Jewish leader and put Him on trial for crimes He didn’t commit.”
- “Peter waited in the courtyard while the trial was going on, and people started to notice that he looked like one of Jesus’ followers.”
- “They asked him three times if he was one of Jesus’ followers, and he denied it each time.”
- “Jesus wasn’t surprised, though.”
- “He had told Peter that he would deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.”
- “Sure enough, when Peter denied he knew Jesus for the third time, a rooster crowed, and Jesus looked directly into Peter’s eyes.”
- “Peter was so ashamed that he ran away and cried and cried.”
- “When Jesus needed Peter the most, Peter wasn’t a very good friend.”
- “But even though Peter wasn’t a very good friend to Jesus, Jesus still wanted Peter to lead His followers.”
- “After Jesus rose from the dead, He met with Peter to let him know that he was forgiven.”
- “Then, one morning, Jesus did a strange thing.”
- “He asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.” (Have volunteer read John 21:15-17.)
- “By asking Peter this question three times, Jesus was letting him know that Peter was forgiven and restored to a leadership position for Jesus’ followers.”
- “Each ‘I love you, Lord,’ was like a big eraser getting rid of the ‘I don’t know Hims!.’”
- “So, this game is like the Bible story.”
- “Each of these cans is labeled, ‘I don’t know him!’ and represents the three times Peter denied knowing Jesus after Jesus had been arrested.”
- “Each bean bag (or ball) is labeled, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you!’ and represents the three times Peter was given a chance to express his love to Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead.”
- “Everyone will take turns throwing three bean bags (or balls) at the cans from a distance of about ten (10) feet.”
- “If you knock the cans down, it will be like erasing Peter’s denials with his confessions of love for Jesus.”
- “Want to play?” (Let the children line up and take turns trying to knock over the cans. Each child gets three throws before you reset the cans for the next child. After each child has had at least one chance to knock the cans over, discuss the following debrief questions.)
- How do you think Peter felt after denying Jesus three times?
- Do you remember why Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” three times? Why did He do that?
- How do you think Peter felt after Jesus gave him three chances to confess his love for Jesus?
- Do you believe God forgives you for every bad thing you do? Why or why not?