Kids Club Devotional: Part 4

Last night Kids Club kicked into high gear for many in our church. We want to invite all of the adults in our church to think about what children will learn during our action packed week together. During the last two weeks, I posted part one and parts two and three of this year’s Kids Club devotional. This week I’ll share the fourth and final part. If you prefer, a complete version of this year’s devotional can be found here.

Day 4: Jesus Restores Peter and Reveals Himself to Thomas

Each night at Kids Club, we will learn why Jesus is worth following and how we can follow Him today.

Monday we learned that this means:

Because Jesus is the Savior of the World, we respond to His call by saying no to ourselves and choosing Him. 

Tuesday, we learned that this means:

Because Jesus is God, we listen to him more than anyone else. 

Yesterday, we learned that this means:

Because Jesus lays down his life for us, we can serve others. 

No matter how disciplined, focused, and eager we are to follow Jesus in these ways, you and I will always fall short. As we saw last night, this was true of Jesus’ closest friends and followers. Even as Jesus washed their feet, Judas prepared to betray him into the hands of those who would murder him. Peter was moments away from denying him three times. Both failed to follow Jesus when it counted the most. Perhaps that’s what makes tonight’s message the most important of all: Because Jesus loves us and has the power to forgive, we can go to him when we mess up or have doubts.

Read Luke 22:60-62.

How does Peter respond when he sins? 

Read John 21:1-19.

When Peter recognizes Jesus, what does he do? What might Peter’s response teach us about coming to Jesus after we’ve messed up? 

How does Jesus respond to Peter? What does He do? What does He say? 

What does Jesus’ response to Peter tell us about our own sin and failures? 

Like Peter, you and I fail to love, serve, and trust Jesus perfectly. We deny him with our thoughts, words, and actions in ways that are both big and small each day. Peter’s response to his sin can teach us a great deal about our own. Immediately after denying Jesus, Peter goes out and weeps bitterly. He doesn’t make light of his sin; he is deeply grieved by it. Yet, when he sees Jesus, Peter doesn’t cower. He doesn’t hide in guilt and shame. He jumps out of the boat and gets to Jesus as quickly as he can.

How does Jesus respond? He doesn’t dismiss Peter or relegate him to marginal work and ministry. Instead, he uses Peter in a powerful way to “feed his sheep.” Peter goes on to spread the Gospel after Jesus ascends into heaven. He writes several books in the New Testament. He’s martyred for his faith by dying on a cross hung upside down. Jesus forgives, restores, and continues to use broken people like Peter and like you and me.

Jesus doesn’t just respond to our sin this way, though. He also invites us to come to Him when we have questions or doubts. Just ask another disciple named Thomas.

Read John 20:19-29.

Why does Thomas struggle to believe that Jesus rose again? What does he say must happen for him to believe? 

How does Jesus respond to Thomas’ doubts? 

What does Thomas do when he sees the risen Jesus?

If you and I follow Jesus today, we are those who have not seen and have yet believed. 2 Corinthians 5:7 describes this as living by faith and not by sight, while 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Yet even those of us with the most ardent faith wrestle with questions and doubts like Thomas.

What are some questions/doubts you’ve struggled with as you’ve followed Jesus? OR, what are some questions/ doubts that are currently keeping you from following Jesus? 

When we wrestle with these questions and doubts, Jesus’ response to Thomas should encourage us. He doesn’t cast Thomas aside. Instead, He meets Thomas where he is and reveals himself to him. When we struggle to believe, trust, and understand Jesus fully, we can echo the words of the man who came to Jesus to heal his son and said, “I do believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Tim Keller’s words in The Reason for God can also encourage us.

A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection. Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts—not only their own, but their friends’ and neighbors’. It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them. Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive. And, just as important for our current situation, such a process will lead you, even after you come to a position of strong faith, to respect and understand those who doubt. 

As today’s stories show us, because Jesus loves us and has the power to forgive, we can go to him when we mess up or have doubts. Let’s do that now. 

Pray: Take a few minutes to share your doubts, questions, and sin with Jesus. Pray that you, the kids, and the volunteers would know the great love and power of Jesus to forgive. Pray that we would come to him with our questions and our doubts.

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