Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Online Sunday School Lessons - The Death of Peter

Another great addition to your online Sunday School lessons! Use this lesson to tell students about the death of Peter.

Needed: Bibles, Peter on cross picture (included on next page)

Lesson: (Note: Always allow students to give their answers to the questions before you clarify the teaching.)

Ask students, Do you think most people in our country are Christians, believers in Jesus?

Do you think most people in the world are Christians?

Most people in our country and in the world are not Christians. They don’t believe in Jesus. They either believe in another religion or they don’t believe in God at all. That means Christians, believers in Jesus, are in the minority.

Do you think people who don’t believe in Jesus would ever pick on people who do believe in Jesus?

(As the teacher, share a story of when you were made fun of or treated differently for being a Christian.)

Do you think people who don’t believe in Jesus would ever hurt people who do believe in Jesus?

Christians have been beaten and tortured and killed, ever since the time of Peter, for believing in Jesus. Today we’re going to learn about how Peter died.

(Have a student read 1 Peter 3:15, or read it yourself.)

Peter says to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” That means that if anyone ever asks about our faith, we should be able to tell them. But what do we have to do to be able to tell people about our faith?

We have to know what we believe and why we believe it so that we can tell other people.

Well, what if someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus wants to pick on us for our faith? Should we still talk to them about why we believe? (Yes.)

Yes, but Peter says that we have to talk to them “with gentleness and respect”. If they’re picking on us for our faith and being mean, we still have to be nice to them. We have to be gentle with them and respect them.

(Have another student read 1 Peter 3:16, or read it yourself.)

The reason we have to be gentle with and respect people who don’t believe in Jesus and are being mean to us is so that we can keep “a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” If we’re nice to people when they’re mean to us, then at least we know that we haven’t done anything wrong. If we’re mean back, we would be in the wrong, too. And if we’re nice to people when they’re mean to us, maybe they’ll see us being nice to them and feel bad for treating us mean.

(Have another student read 1 Peter 3:17, or read it yourself.)

The last thing Peter says is that “it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” The truth is that sometimes we will suffer for doing good. We will suffer because of our faith in Jesus. People will pick on us. People will treat us differently. People might even try to hurt or kill us. But we have to show God’s love to them by being nice to them. We will suffer for doing good, just like Jesus suffered on the cross when He died to show people God’s love.

And Peter did die in almost the same way that Jesus did. When Peter was an old man, there was a big fire in the city of Rome, the biggest and most important city in the world back then, the capital. And what happened was the King, Emperor Nero, set the fires. He wanted to burn the whole city down and then rebuild it to be like what he wanted. But when everyone got mad about the fire, Emperor Nero blamed the Christians for starting the fire. Most people back then didn’t believe in Jesus and they were always picking on people who did believe in Jesus and this was just one more time that they could pick on Christians, blaming them for the fire.

So they arrested a bunch of Christians and they arrested Peter and his wife, because Peter was the leader of the Christians, and they put them in the coliseum, the stadium, for everyone to watch them being killed. Some of the Christians they put in with lions and the lions ate them. Some of them were put in with warriors and the warriors attacked and killed them. Peter’s wife was killed and then Peter was killed. Because he was the leader of the Christians, they put him on a cross, just like Jesus. But they put Peter on the cross upside down and let him hang there, upside down, until he died. (Show students the picture of Peter on the cross.)

But Peter and all of the Christians were strong and brave when they were being killed and they were always nice to the people who were hurting them because they wanted to show God’s love. And that’s what we have to do. If anyone ever picks on you about your faith, tell them what you believe and be nice to them because that way you will be showing God’s love and maybe they will start to believe in Jesus, too.

Find more Sunday School lesson ideas on our Free Children Sunday School Lesson Helps page.
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