Writing a Children’s Sermon on Mark 4:35-41 is only hard because there is too much great stuff in the story. I want to talk about all of it, but I know that won’t work with kids.
(A while back I wrote a longer meditation on the passage, which let me consider more details. You can see it here.)
For kids, the best rule is to focus clearly on just one thing. Okay, I’ll admit that it’s a rule I break pretty often. But “rule” has multiple meanings.
This is less like a “law” and more like the “ruler” you used back in grade school. You know: it has an edge that will help you draw a straight line.
Sometimes you want something more curvy. Still, the rule is there to help you get where you need to go.
Here, as I often do, I retell the story in my own way to bring out some of the emotion — and maybe some humor. It’s part of the very old tradition of presenting a paraphrase.
Pro tip: To use this one in worship you need to be able to make a really good snoring sound.
A Children’s Sermon on Mark 4:35-41
Hi Kids! I’m so glad you are here today. Thanks for coming up.
I want to tell you a story about Jesus and his friends.
Jesus used to travel all over with his friends. Everywhere they went, Jesus helped people.
- When sick people came to him, Jesus would heal them.
- Lonely people came to him, and Jesus would welcome them, and help them feel cared for.
- Whenever people came to him with questions, Jesus would teach them.
You can probably imagine how much people liked what Jesus did for them. They really did. Someday, when you read the Gospel of Mark you’ll see that everywhere he went, huge crowds of people gathered.
- Sick people came.
- Lonely people came.
- And people with questions came.
One evening, after a long day of healing people, and loving people, and teaching people, Jesus said,
Whew! I need a break!
And his friends said,
Yeah! We’re tired! What should we do?
So Jesus said,
Hey, Peter—your boat is right here by the lakeshore. Can we all sail over to the other side? I’d love to get away from the crowds for a while.
Sure! Ahoy Mateys! Let’s set sail for the other side of the lake.
And off they went.
As soon as they were aboard Jesus yawned a great big stretchy yawn and said,
Wow, I’m so tired! I think I’ll lay down and take a nap.
Sounds good,” said Peter. “Theres a big cushion back there in the stern.
So Jesus lay down and before they knew it he was fast asleep.
Jesus’ friends ran around sailing the boat, but Jesus just said,
Then the rain started coming down, and Jesus just said,
Soon the wind started to roar. But Jesus just said,
And then the waves started to toss the boat up and down, but Jesus just said,
Then finally the water started pouring in, and the boat was starting to sink! But Jesus just said,
The disciples were terrified. They started shouting,
We’re all gonna die!
Somebody, probably Andrew, had a good idea. He said,
Hey, let’s wake Jesus up!
So they sloshed back to the stern where Jesus was sleeping. You know what Jesus was saying, right?
Hey! Wake up Jesus!
said his friends. And when Jesus opened his eyes Thomas cried,
Don’t you care about us?
And Peter said
We’re about to die! Why aren’t you helping?
Then John said,
I thought you loved us!
Jesus looked at them with his big brown eyes all full of love, and said
Of course I love you. I always have, and I always will. Give me just a minute.
Then he stood up and looked at the storm. He shouted out
Hey you wind! Hey you waves! Calm down!
And suddenly the storm stopped and the waves died down.
The disciples said
And Jesus said,
Oh you guys. You’ve seen me heal people and now you’ve seen me still that storm. You don’t need to worry. If I’m with you there’s really no problem too big.
They all said,
But it was really scary!
And Jesus said,
If I can sleep through that storm, you can trust that I’m not worried about it. It’s all gonna be okay.
- I wonder what it felt like to have Jesus sleeping while the boat was sinking?
- I wonder if you’ve ever been scared and thought God didn’t care?
- I wonder why it’s hard to trust that God is helping when things go wrong?
- I wonder what might help you feel more calm when you are worried?
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
- You can put a little notice in your church bulletin that your children’s sermon is adapted from one published on GaryNealHansen.com.
- You can support my work over on Patreon. (Just $1 per month brings my children’s sermons straight to your inbox about two minutes after they go live. And every little bit keeps me going…)