Crossroads: Don’t Be Afraid

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John 20:19-21

Your Story

Talk about a time in your life when someone calmed your fears. What were you afraid of? How did that person help? Have you ever been someone who has calmed someone else’s fears?

My Story and the Bible Story

I don’t like bad weather. Nowadays, thunderstorms don’t bother me that much, but I was pretty afraid of them as a child. In fact, my grandmother tells a story about a day that we went shopping. There was a dark cloud in the sky, and I was so worried that it would turn into a storm while we were in the parking lot that she had to carry me under the umbrella. She knew everything would be okay, and she did what she needed to do to make sure I wasn’t afraid anymore. There were other times when I was home with my mom and a bad thunderstorm would come. She would read me verses from the Bible that talked about not being afraid because God is with us. She would remind me that there was no need to fear the thunder, that it couldn’t hurt me. She would calm my fears.

Read John 20:19-21. From the NIV: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, I am sending you.’

The disciples were afraid. Jesus had been arrested and killed because of who he was. And the disciples were afraid that they, too, would be arrested and killed because they followed Jesus. So they hid, locking the doors and hoping people would forget about them. In the verses before verse nineteen, we read that Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb and found it empty, so she ran to Simon Peter and John to tell them that someone had taken Jesus’ body. They all ran back to the tomb so Peter and John could see for themselves. Then the men went back to their homes, but Mary Magdalene stayed by the tomb, crying. And it was there that she saw Jesus again! Jesus told her to tell the disciples that she had seen him. So by today’s passage, the disciples knew that Mary had seen Jesus but they still didn’t understand what was going on. They hadn’t seen Jesus and they were afraid of what would happen to them. And then Jesus shows up.

Jesus had calmed their fears before, when they were in the boat on a lake in the midst of a storm. And Jesus’ first words to them after he rose from the dead were “Peace be with you!” He was reminding them that they had no need to fear because not even death had power over him. After they saw Jesus, it seems like they were no longer afraid. They finally understood the power that Jesus had.

There are times when we are afraid. Sometimes bad things happen and we are terrified. It seems like there’s a lot to be afraid of in our world: bad weather, terrorist attacks, school shootings, car accidents, and even bullying. We have a lot of reasons to be afraid. But we also have someone who calms our fears. After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples’ situation hadn’t changed. They still could have been arrested and even killed because they followed Jesus. But they were no longer afraid because Jesus had given them peace. They suddenly knew that Jesus had power over even death, and there was no reason for them to be afraid. Bad things are going to happen sometimes. There will be times when we are afraid. But Jesus is more powerful than anything else. And Jesus is always there with us, whispering to us “peace be with you.” If you let him, he will calm your fears. He will remind you that there’s no need to be afraid, because he’s more powerful than anything else. Nothing can happen that will take you away from God. So when you are afraid, trust in God. God cares for you and will give you peace. Jesus gave the disciples peace when they had a lot of reasons to be afraid. He’ll give you peace too. There’s no need to be afraid!

Discussion Questions

• Ask your children to name some things that they are afraid of. Talk through ways that they can ask Jesus for peace.
• Name some things that you have been afraid of in your life (either as an adult or as a child) and how you worked through your fears. Did you give things over to God? How did you feel after you let go of those things?
• Talk about some of the things that are frightening in this world (especially terrorist attacks and school shootings). Then talk to your children about how God is always with us. Explain that, although we don’t know what’s going to happen, we don’t have to be afraid because we will never be separated from God.

Prayer

Thank God for the power that God has. Ask God to calm our fears. Ask for peace.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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