Here are some reflections from our youth on Matthew 14:22-33, as shared on Children & Youth Sunday.
Over the past several weeks, our class has been exploring this story to discover what we think it says about Jesus, about faith and risk-taking, and about God’s love. One of the first things we noticed in this story is that after Jesus dismissed the crowds, he “went up to the mountain by himself to pray”. We wondered: What does this tell us about Jesus? What kind of example is he setting for us?
- One person wrote: “This tells me that even Jesus gets tired, and that everyone needs a break, time to reflect, and a chance to rejuvenate.”
- Another person shared this: “This shows that to have a true connection with God, you must have earnest faith and not pray just for your public image so people will think you’re very religious.”
Next we wondered about the imagery in the story. What does the boat represent? How about the waves and the wind?
- “The boat might represent a person and their relationship with God, their friends and family, or whatever else makes them feel comfortable. The waves represent the challenges that are thrown at you or obstacles that you face. And the wind represents anything that might distract you from your faith.”
- “The boat is the everlasting Love of God and the wind and waves are the work of Satan – such as the horrible temptation of greed or the cruel quest for power. The Love of God protects us and can’t be destroyed.”
In response to the questions: “What made Peter step out of the boat? and Does Peter have a strong faith?” Our answers varied…
- “He trusts Jesus so much and has a super strong faith.”
- “Peter does have a strong faith. He believes in Jesus because otherwise he wouldn’t have stepped out of the boat. And he believes in himself because he trusted his feeling of faith in Jesus.”
- “He trusts in Jesus but doesn’t believe he can be like Jesus. He begins to doubt himself and maybe that’s why he starts sinking.
After examining some of the details of the story, we dug a little deeper to think about how this story might be relevant in our own lives. We started off by wondering what the gospel writer is trying to teach us about faith.
- “This passage is showing us how life can have situations in which it seems impossible to do the right thing, but you must have faith in whatever you’re going to do. It also tells us that in the end, Jesus will love and save us no matter what.”
- “The gospel writer is trying to tell us that believing and trusting the good in people will help you survive. It’s also telling us that God has faith in us, so we should have faith in ourselves too.”
- “The message here is that faith can guide one through adversity. The story is trying to teach us that life will inevitably bring adversity and faith in God or Jesus will help us through it.”
Next we asked the questions: “Why is it hard to take risks?” and “Where do we find courage?”
- “It’s hard to take risks because of the possible downside. Risks are risky so there’s a chance of something bad happening. For example, if you have a 25% chance of winning $100.00 and a 75% chance of losing $50.00, then odds are you’ll lose money so you don’t want to take the risk.”
- “It’s hard to take risks because it is far more comfortable to play it safe. You never know what the outcome is going to be. And sometimes you might be afraid of failing or getting hurt.”
- “Courage comes from friends and family who care about me and contribute to my well being. It’s nice to know there are people who will support me in hard times.”
- “It’s also hard to take risks because we have little faith in ourselves. If we trusted that everything would turn out ok, we might take more risks. It’s the bad things that happen in life that make it hard for us to take the risks.”
- “It helps me to look back at situations in my life where I have overcome similar challenges. This gives me courage to try again.”
“How does God’s love make us brave?” This was our final question for reflection. These are some of our responses:
- “I know that even if I take a risk and mess up, God will still love me and be there for me.”
- “God’s love makes me brave in two ways. The idea of “if you love someone, set them free” shows how God will push us to take risks and have faith in Him. But also if you love someone, you take care of them, and God will take care of us when we take too big of a risk.”
- “God’s love, which shines through a lot of people I know, makes me want to take a leap of faith or take risks, because I feel empowered when I feel God’s unconditional love.”
- “God’s love makes me brave because it lets me know that I always have someone by my side and that I’m never alone.”
Our hope and prayer for each of you this morning, is that you will also feel empowered by God’s amazing love so that you might strengthen your faith, take more risks, and dare to be brave! Amen