Keep Your Eyes on Jesus
If we are to follow Jesus, we need to keep our eyes on him.
A ball (Perhaps enough for all children to toss a ball back and forth.)
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Matthew 14:30 (NIV)
How many games can you think of that use a ball? (See how many games the children can name. If they don't respond, you can begin naming some.) Let's see—there's soccer, basketball, baseball, dodge ball, volleyball, cricket, rugby, golf, tennis, table tennis (ping pong), and stick ball to name a few. You can even just play a game of catch by throwing the ball back and forth with a play mate. Do you know what is the most important thing is very important thing to remember when playing any game that uses a ball? You have to keep your eye on the ball. If you don't keep your eye on the ball, you will spend all of your time chasing it, or worse, you might wind up with a black eye!
In our Bible lesson today, Simon Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, learned a lesson about the importance of keeping his eye on the ball. Well, actually, he learned about the importance of keeping his eyes upon Jesus!
Jesus and his disciples had had a long, hard day. Jesus had been teaching a huge crowd of people and healing the sick. His disciples had just finished passing out food to a crowd of more than 5,000 men, women, and children. They were very tired. Jesus told the disciples to get in their boat and go to the other side of Lake Galilee. He sent the crowds away and went to a quiet place to be alone and pray.
Later in the night, the boat was quite a distance from the shore when the wind came up and the water became rough with waves. Jesus went out toward the boat walking on the water. When the disciples saw him they were afraid.
"It's a ghost," they cried.
Jesus answered, "Don't be afraid, take courage, it's me!"
Peter called out to him, "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," said Jesus.
So, Peter climbed out of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus. But when he started looking around and saw the waves being blown about by the wind. He was afraid and he began to sink. "Lord, save me!" he cried.
Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. "Why did you doubt?" Jesus asked.
Why do you think Peter began to sink? That's right, he began to look around at the mess he was in and took his eyes off of Jesus. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine, but when he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. You and I may encounter some pretty rough times in our life. As long as we keep our eyes upon Jesus and put our trust in him, we will be okay. But when we take our eyes off of Jesus and put our confidence in our own ability, we will surely sink!
Dear Lord Jesus, when the storms of life come against us, help us to remember to keep our eyes on you and keep our faith and trust in you. In your name we pray. Amen.