The Story of Esther – with Stanley – Part 1

The Story of Esther

By: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

Mr. Mathisen:             A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when the children of Israel were being held captive in a place called Persia. They were there because they had disobeyed the Lord by worshipping other gods and being very wicked. There lived in that land, at that time,  a young Jewish girl named Esther. Now, some of you have probably heard or read her story before, but, this story does not contain any unmade sandwiches, falling birthday cakes or songs about puppies.

Stanley:                       Boy, that‘s not going to be much fun!

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, lots of stories are fun just to listen to and to imagine in your mind what is being told. Can you do that?

Stanley:                       Well…

Mr. Mathisen:             Sure you can! Now sit still and be good and try to imagine yourself back in Persia about 2,450 years ago. I think that it might have been early on a Wednesday morning, and the sun was just beginning to warm the stones of the gate and Mordecai the Gatekeeper was about to go on duty. Now, Mordecai was a middle-aged man, slightly round, with a full graying beard and the hair on the top of his head was starting to get thin.

He was just thinking about his young cousin Esther. She was growing up quickly into a very beautiful young woman and how he ought to be thinking about finding her a husband soon. “How time has flown by” he thought to himself, “since her parents died, and she came to live with me.” “These days she takes more care of me than I do of her, hmm, what a girl she is!”

Well, Mordecai arrived at the King’s gate and took over the running of the gate from the man that had stood watch over the gate during the night. As the two men stood talking about the news of the day, the night man (his name was Ira, by the way). Ira was just telling Mordecai what had happened the night before in the palace. Let’s listen in a little:

Mordecai_in_king's_gate_BBL72-727

Ira:                              So, Mordecai, my friend there was such a scene last night that you would not believe.

Mordecai:                   What do you mean Ira? I know that the King has been holding a feast for his royal friends for the last week. I also know that the King tends to drink too much at his feasts and usually does something silly to show off. What did he do this time?

Ira:                              You’re not going to believe what he did, you’re just NOT going to believe it.

Mordecai:                   Alright! Enough already with “you’re not going to believe it”! What did he DO???

Ira:                              He got rid of Queen Vashti! She didn’t obey a royal command, and he just sent her away and she is NO LONGER QUEEN! Can you believe it??

Mr. Mathisen:             Needless to say, Mordecai was astonished at this. He didn’t know that a king could send his queen away! He especially didn’t think that King Ahasueres would do that, but, the king has done some strange things during these feasts of his. He was just glad that this had nothing to do with him or Esther. They and the rest of the Jews in Persia were leading quiet lives during their captivity even if some people did not seem to like them very much.

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Bring the Children to Me With Stanley

Mr. Mathisen:             Boys and girls, this morning we are going to meet Jesus. Do you like that idea, Stanley…Stanley?

Stanley:                       Huh? I’m sorry I was pretending to be pirate. Ahhrrrggghhhh! Where’s my sword, matey?

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, don’t you want to meet Jesus?

Stanley:                       Sure, sure, right after I capture that ship with all the doubloons.

Mr. Mathisen:             Hang on there, buddy. You can pretend to be a pirate another time, right now let’s focus on being in Sunday school with a story to tell.

Stanley:                       Oh ok. What do I get to do?

Mr. Mathisen:             Thank you. This morning we are going to learn about a time when Jesus was sitting outside in a town east of the Jordan River in the area where the tribe of Manasseh lived.

Stanley:                       Tribe? Were they Indians?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, they were…well, we’ll talk about that at another time. Let’s just say that some of the people of Israel lived over there, and Jesus went to preach to them. So let’s pretend that we are back there, and we want to go visit with Jesus.

We can pretend that it is a warm day, and Jesus is sitting on a bench under a tree and he is surrounded by people.

Do you want to go over and visit with Him?

Stanley:                       Nope.

Mr. Mathisen:             You don’t? Why not?

Stanley:                       I don’t want to.

Mr. Mathisen:             Why? Are you afraid?

Stanley:                       Well, yeah, kind of. He’s so big.

Mr. Mathisen:             But, every grown up is big compared to you.

Stanley:                       Not Zaccheus.

Mr. Mathisen:             No, not Zaccheus. But, does Jesus look mean or scary?

Stanley:                       No, not really.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, how about if I go with you? I’ll stay right with you.

Stanley:                       Can I hide behind you if I get scared?

Mr. Mathisen:             Sure, let’s go over there now.

Stanley:                       Wait! Those other big men are chasing all the kids away. I’m scared! I don’t wanna go over there now.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, you’re right. But look now, Jesus is telling those men to stop doing that. I think those were His followers, but He wants to see the children.

Stanley:                       You’re right!  Look, He’s picking some kids up and putting them on His lap. I’m going over there now! Bye…

jesus_w_children

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, wait for me! Oh, never mind. You’re in good hands.

The Story of When Jesus Calls Peter – Conclusion

Stanley:                      Wait a minute the boat is tipping over! I’m gonna drown. We’re all gonna die!

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley, you are not going to drown, and we are not all gonna die. Pay attention to what’s going on. Peter is calling to those friends of his with that other boat. They are coming to help us with this huge catch of fish.

Peters net overflowing

Stanley:                      Maybe we can have fish and chips for lunch then.

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley! Pay attention this is important stuff going on here. We’re with Jesus and Peter. Look the other boat is here, and the two boats are hauling the fish in.

Stanley:                      I’ve never seen so many fish in one place in my life. Uh oh! The boat is getting so full of fish that…that. We’re gonna sink! I’m gonna drown. We’re all gonna die!

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley! Will you stop that? Listen Peter is talking to Jesus. Now he’s gotten down on his knees right here in the boat.

Peter:                         Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around You.

Mr. Mathisen:          Did you hear that Stanley? Listen! Jesus is answering him.

Jesus:                         Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!

Stanley:                      Look! We’re almost back to the shore. All those other fishermen are coming to help with all these fish!

Mr. Mathisen:          We better get out of the boat and keep out of the way Stanley. Here we are, it’s much better up here on the beach a little ways.

Stanley:                      Can I keep this fish that got into my pocket? I bet my mom can cook it up really good!

Mr. Mathisen:          No Stanley. It doesn’t belong to us. Let’s go back down to where they are spreading the fish out on the beach and put it in with the rest. Wait a minute, Peter and his friends are leaving all these fish and their boats and following Jesus.

Stanley:                      Wow! That’s right. Where are they going? Wait is that Jesus talking again?

Mr. Mathisen:          Yes. I can just make it out He is saying. “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” Wow! It looks like choosing to obey Jesus really changed Peter’s life.

Fisher of men

Stanley:                      It sure did. Look at all these fish! They are just walking away from them. I’ll bet they never did that before.

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley, I think that Peter and his friends James and John are going to find themselves doing a lot of things that they never did before, just because they decided to obey Jesus. Sometimes Jesus asks us to do things that may not make much sense, at first. But we need to obey Him anyway because He is God, and He knows what is best for us. You boys and girls need to do the same thing. Obey Jesus and obey your parents and teachers.

The Story of When Jesus Calls Peter – Part 2

Stanley:                       Wait a minute that man is walking backwards!

Mr. Mathisen:             That’s right Stanley. Those people keep crowding in on him and he has to walk backwards to keep from getting trampled by them. Look! He’s turned around and is talking to Peter.

Stanley:                       What’s he saying; I can’t hear over the noise of the crowd?

Mr. Mathisen:             I’m not sure but now he’s getting into one of those boats and he’s talking to that big man. Wait! That must be Peter. Let’s run over and listen.

Stanley:                       Um, OK. You run. I left my legs at home.

Mr. Mathisen:             Oh, Stanley. (Make running sounds) Ok, here we are at the boat. You know I think that we can squeeze into the back of the boat and see and hear everything that goes on. In we go, let’s jump!

Stanley:                       Wait a minute! You landed on me!

Mr. Mathisen:             I did not. Wait a minute! That man is Jesus. This is Peter’s boat and Jesus is asking Peter to push the boat out into the water so that He can continue to preach but not get trampled.

Stanley:                       You know, Peter didn’t look to happy about this to begin with, but he just looked at Jesus for a minute and his whole face changed. Now he’s happy to help. Wow! Talking with Jesus changed his mind!

Mr. Mathisen:             You sure are right Stanley. Peter didn’t want to obey at first, but looking at Jesus and hearing Him ask changed the way that Peter was acting. Now he seems to be really happy to help! And now we can sit in the boat and listen to Jesus teach the people too. Right, Stanley?  Stanley? Stanley, what are you doing?

Jesus-Teaching-From-Simons-Boat

Stanley:                       Vroom! Vroom! Vrooooooom! Huh? Oh, I was playing motor boat with my hand in the water.

Mr. Mathisen:             Shhh! Jesus is done teaching the crowd now and He’s asking Peter to move the boat out into deeper waters. Listen to what he is saying.

Jesus:                          “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

Peter:                          “Master, we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if You say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

Mr. Mathisen:          Look, Stanley. We’re going out farther into the lake. They’re putting their nets down. Whoa! They caught something already!

Stanley:                      Wait a minute the boat is tipping over! I’m gonna drown. We’re all gonna die!

The Story of When Jesus Calls Peter – Part 1

Mr. Mathisen:             Boys and girls, this morning we are going to tell the story of when Jesus calls the Apostle Peter. Who can tell me who Peter was?

Stanley:                       Ooh, Ooh, ooh…I know, I know!

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, do you really know who Peter was?

Stanley:                       Sure, sure, he was the cut off the guy’s ear in the garden when the soldiers were arresting Jesus.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, that is true but we are going to talk about another time before Peter was a follower of Jesus. Do you know what Peter did before he was an apostle?

Stanley:                       Umm…..was he a carpenter?

Mr. Mathisen:             No…does anyone else know what Peter did before he was an apostle?

Stanley:                       Wait! Don’t I get another guess?

Mr. Mathisen:             Okay, go ahead and try again.

Stanley:                       Ummm…was he a mailman?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, Stanley he was not a mailman. Let me give you a hint.

Stanley:                       Ok, I like hints.

Mr. Mathisen:             When today’s story starts, he is on the beach cleaning some fish nets.

Stanley:                       Ooh, Ooh, ooh…I know, I know!

Mr. Mathisen:             Ok, what was he?

Stanley:                       He was a fisherman!

Mr. Mathisen:             Very good Stanley. For today’s story, let’s go for a walk on the beach, and then maybe we’ll go for ride in Peter’s boat.

Stanley:                       Are we going to have another storm? I don’t like storms when I’m on a boat. I get sort of sick to my stomach.

Mr. Mathisen:             Oh don’t worry about that today. There won’t be any storms in this story. So let’s pretend that we’re walking on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a bright, sunny day, and we can see Peter and his friends with all their nets laid out on the beach so that they can dry them, clean them and fix any tears in them.

come-follow-me

Stanley:                       Boy, I can sure smell that wonderful sea air. I can hear seagulls and look there’s a big crowd down there on the beach, and it’s headed this way.

Mr. Mathisen:             You’re right Stanley. All those people are listening to that man, and he is headed this way.

Stanley:                       Wait a minute that man is walking backwards!

The Story of When Jesus Calmed the Sea – Conclusion

Stanley:                       Aaaahhhhh!! I’m getting wet!!!

Mr. Mathisen:             Oh, come on now Stanley, a little water isn’t going to hurt you.

Stanley:                       A little water? I’ve got so much water on me I can’t feel my legs anymore!!

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley…you don’t have any legs.

Stanley:                       (looking down) Oh, yeah…that’s right. (sheepishly) Ha, ha, ha…I guess I got a little excited again, huh?

Mr. Mathisen:             Oh look, James is taking the sail down, and they are getting out the oars. Look, they are rowing really, really hard, but…it’s not helping much. We are still getting a lot of water in the boat. Where are the buckets? Maybe we should start bailing.

Stanley:                       Ooh, ooh, I heard Bartholomew talking about Jesus; he said that He has fallen asleep! What are we going to do? We’re going to sink! We’ll drown! I don’t want to die, I’m too young!!!!!

Mr. Mathisen:             Now, now take it easy Stanley. Jesus is still here with us. He cares about us, and He won’t let anything happen to us…remember, Jesus is God, and He can do anything. See! Nathaniel is waking Him up. Let’s listen in…

Nathaniel:                   “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”

Jesus:                          (And he came out of his sleep, He looked around, stood up in the boat and gave strong orders to the wind, and said to the sea,) “Peace, be at rest.” (And the wind went down, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus asked his disciples,) “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”

from-fear-to-faith

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, did you see that??? It’s amazing! The wind stopped howling, the rain stopped, the waves calmed INSTANTLY!!! All because Jesus told them to.

Stanley:                       Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Mr. Mathisen:             That’s enough Stanley. Look all of the disciples are acting frightened and talking to each other. I heard Thomas say, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.” Stanley, they don’t understand who He is!

Stanley:                       You mean they really don’t understand?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, they don’t understand how powerful He really is . . . remember, Jesus is God, and He can do anything. God created the whole world. That means absolutely, completely, positively, everything in the universe! Everything! And, He is in charge of everything He created, everything. Well, here we are at the shore. Everyone is getting out, let’s go…

Stanley:                       That’s a good idea. I need to get back on dry land so that my stomach can settle down like the wind and the waves just did when Jesus spoke to them. Wow! He really can do anything.

Mr. Mathisen:             That’s right Stanley…remember, Jesus is God, and He can do anything. Now, why don’t you go and rest in your box?

Stanley:                       Ok, goodbye boys and girls. See you next time!

The Story of When Jesus Calmed the Sea – Part 2

Stanley:                       Oh boy, a boat ride!!! I can’t wait!! Can we water ski too???

Mr. Mathisen:             (Laughing) No, Stanley, it’s not that kind of boat. It was a probably the kind of boat that Peter and John fished from. It had no motor. It had a sail, and they could use oars to get it moving. It was also big enough to hold them all because it was built to hold a lot of fish. Let’s return now to those thrilling days of yesteryear and…well…let’s go with them now. Come on…Jesus is very tired from being with the people all day and is eager to get away, I heard Peter say that we were going to take a little ride across the lake and spend the night at the home of some friends on the other side.

As we get into the boat, there is just enough room in the bow (front) for us to sit down at this end away from the others and be out of the way. Jesus is sitting in the stern (back) on a cushion where there is a little room looking out across the lake. He seems to be praying. It’s wonderful to be with Him. Can you smell the water, Stanley? Isn’t it great!

(Begin swaying like on a boat.)

Stanley:                       Yeah, but, the boat is moving a lot, and I don’t think I feel so good.

Mr. Mathisen:             Would like to go back to your box & rest?

Stanley:                       What? Huh? Do I want to go back in the box? No way!! I’ll…be…alright. Do you see those dark clouds over there? It’s getting cold too. I hope we don’t have a storm? Uh…did you bring my raincoat?

Mr. Mathisen:             No Stanley, I didn’t. Hey, I just noticed that Jesus is taking a little nap and Peter is passing around some dried, smoked fish to eat. Mmmm, Stanley, you have got to try this fish! It is so GOOD! It’s better than the smoked salmon that we get at the Pike Place Market. (Stanley mumbles something) Hmm? What did you say?

Stanley:                       Oh, I’m sorry. I said I didn’t want anything to eat, my stomach is still not so good,

(large lurch, then back to hard swaying)

Whoa! Did you feel that? Something is definitely wrong with this boat and WOAH! Look at that sky, it is almost dark as nighttime, and that wind is getting colder and stronger all the time.

Mr. Mathisen:             I think that you are right Stanley. This boat is pitching around really badly. The waves are getting so high that we are getting water in the boat.

Stanley:                       Aaaahhhhh!! I’m getting wet!!!