Glenwood Community Church

"Take Courage. It is I. Do not be Afraid."

I don’t know about you, but lake, river and ocean water is scary to me. When I can’t see what's below the water's surface, it's just a little too mysterious. Add darkness, wind, an unstable boat, and a phantom, and I'll plant my feet on terra firma, thank you very much.
But in Matthew 14, we find Peter out on the sea, in a boat and in the dark. He's with a few other disciples as the wind blows and they strain at their oars. They're exhausted, having spent the day feeding a crowd of over 5,000. The darkness of the night spills into the water, and through the misty wind, they see movement on the surface — something drifting across the water toward them. Seized by terror, they shout out and frantically push against oars!
Then, strangely, Peter hears words move through the wind, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Peter erupts in relief, "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water!” 
Wait! Did Peter say, "Tell me to come out onto the dark, don't-know-what's-under-the-surface, frightening, tumultuous water?” Wow! That's confident faith in an unpredictable situation! 
But, the story doesn't end there. As Peter gets out of the boat and walks toward Jesus, he is so frightened by the power of the wind, he begins to sink. Somehow, in the midst of it all, as he looks around, he forgets that this Jesus is also the Maker and Power of the wind.
I so appreciate how Peter shows that our faith can, at times, be bold, confident and strong when we step into something crazy and unknown, but when fear triumphs, our confidence crumbles. We quickly forget that the Ruler of all circumstances hasn't changed. We have. 
And then Jesus reaches for Peter's hand, "Why do you doubt, Peter?" Jesus' faithfulness was unaltered by Peter's doubt, because our fear cannot change God's character. Even "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:12). God is true to Himself. His faithfulness cannot change, and that is why, as they returned to the boat, the disciples declared, "Truly, You are the Son of God!"

In these days and months, as we anticipate the unknown outcome and implications of COVID-19, we can hold on to the reliability of Jesus' unalterable faithfulness and remember his words, "Take Courage!  It is I. Do not be afraid."
Today, in our family Bible lesson, take time to read with your family Matthew 14:22-34. Then discuss these application questions together:

  • Let's imagine what it would have been like to be in that boat, in the dark and in the wind after an exhausting day.
    • Describe the smell of the air, the feel of the wind, the sound and temperature of the water, the movement of the boat, the conversation between the disciples as they strained against the wind, their thoughts about what the figure might be on the surface of the water, and what they would have thought when the figure neared and they saw it was Jesus.
  • Would you have wanted to get out of the boat and onto the water?
  • What motivated Peter to step out of the boat?
  • What changed inside of Peter when he started to sink?
  • Imagine you are sinking into cold, dark waves, and the boat is too far away for your friends to help you. How do you feel when Jesus’ strong hand reaches for yours and pulls you close to him?
  • How can we be confident that even though life around us changes or scares us, nothing has changed with God?

We have a special video for you to enjoy together as a family with more about Peter and Jesus and news from lots of friends. A special thanks to Julianna Lawson and her editing assistant, Aidan Lawson!
We pray a joy-filled Sunday as we gather in heart!
Nancy Jackson
Director of Children's Ministries
Glenwood Community Church

Glenwood Kids Episode 1: March 29, 2020