When You Need a Helping Hand
Jesus walks on the water.
Examples of things that children might need help doing.
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31 (NIV)
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Has there ever been a time in your life when you needed someone to give you a helping hand? Of course, there has! Can you name some? (Give them time to respond, then continue.) How about when you first began to try to tie your own shoes, did you need someone to help you? It was probably your mother, wasn't it? She worked patiently with you until you were able to do it all by yourself. How about when you got your first bicycle, didn't your dad run along beside you and hold you up? When you began to learn to read, did you just pick up a book and start reading? Of course not, someone—probably a teacher—helped you learn. Did any of you need any help learning how to play soccer? There are always going to be times when you need a helping hand—even when you are grown!
Today's Bible lesson is about a time when the disciples of Jesus needed a helping hand — one disciple in particular whose name was Simon Peter.
It had been a long, hard day for Jesus and his disciples. After the disciples had helped Jesus feed more than five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two small fish, Jesus told them to get into their boat and go on ahead of him to the other side of the lake. Jesus then went up on a mountainside to be alone and to pray.
Later that evening, the disciples were quite far out onto the lake when the wind began to blow and the waves began to bounce their boat around on the water.
Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to the disciples, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they cried.
Jesus immediately spoke to them: "Don't be afraid! Take courage. I am here!"
Peter spoke up, "Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water."
"Yes, come," Jesus answered.
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.
So, you see, even a grown-up fisherman like Simon Peter needed a hand from Jesus when it came to walking on the water. You and I may face some pretty rough times in our life, but as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, he will always be there to give us a hand.
Father, help us to remember that you are always there when we need a helping hand. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.