Image © Depositphotos.com/ nejronDo you ever feel small, like you can’t make much of a difference? So did Jesus’ disciples and look what they did. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says to talk about God’s Word with your family. Why not do it now? Call the kids and get ready to dig into the Bible with this week’s family Bible study.
Scaredy-Cats Turn into Brave WitnessesJesus’ disciples walked with Him and talked with Him. They saw Jesus heal the sick (John 9), multiply food to feed the hungry (Matthew 14:13-21), and even raise the dead (John 11). He spoke boldly to His enemies as well as his followers (Matthew 23:13-36; 5-7). Then Jesus died. He was arrested, put to trial (where people lied about Him), and then executed (John 18-19). The disciples were scared. They scatted when Jesus was arrested and holed up in a room in Jerusalem with the door locked. They were scared that the Jews would try to hurt or kill them too (Mark 14:50-52; John 20:19). It sounds like there wasn’t anything else they could do, doesn’t it? I bet they felt pretty small. Are you ever scared? Do you ever worry about others making fun of you or hurting you if you live for Jesus? What do you do? Let’s see what happened to completely change the disciples forever. When Jesus died on the cross, He didn’t stay dead. He came back to life again! (See John 20:1-19.) At first the disciples couldn’t believe it (Luke 24:11-12). Then something very unexpected happened. Jesus came to them in their little locked room to show them that He really had come back to life. Wow! He ate with them again. He let them touch His scars. He even showed them where in the Old Testament it said that He had to die and come back to life again (Luke 24:36-53; John 20:19-29). After that, those scaredy-cat disciples became very brave. They all did great things for Jesus, no matter what other people said. Jesus completely changed their lives and they decided to live for Him, no matter what. Most of them even died rather than stop following Jesus.
PeterPeter is often described as being brave (Matthew 14:22-34), but even he got scared and tried to hide when Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26:69-75. Jesus forgave him though and Peter went on to become a great leader, speaking boldly for Jesus, even when he was arrested (John 21:15-24; Acts 12:1-17). Peter hadn’t been to a special school. The religious leaders thought he had no special training. Peter simply knew Jesus and told others about Him.
Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. He said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! Are you asking us to explain our actions today? Do you want to know why we were kind to a man who couldn’t walk? Are you asking how he was healed? Then listen to this, you and all the people of Israel! You nailed Jesus Christ of Nazareth to the cross. But God raised him from the dead. It is through Jesus’ name that this man stands healed in front of you. Scripture says that Jesus is “ ‘the stone you builders did not accept. But it has become the most important stone of all.’ (Psalm 118:22) You can’t be saved by believing in anyone else. God has given people no other name under heaven that will save them.” The leaders saw how bold Peter and John were. They also realized that Peter and John were ordinary men with no training. This surprised the leaders. They realized that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:8-13 (NIRV)
PaulPaul may not have met Jesus before He died on the cross. We do know that Christ appeared to Paul to show the man that Jesus was alive and the true Messiah. It was especially important for Paul (whose name was then Saul) because Saul had been doing everything he could to hurt and punish people who followed Jesus (Acts 8:1-3). After meeting Jesus and deciding to follow Him, Paul’s life changed completely. He was so different, people didn’t recognize him. Paul started telling people about Jesus right away and was nearly killed because if it. It took the other believers a while to trust Paul, but several years of faithfully living for God paid off (Acts 9:1-30). Jesus disciples sent Paul to tell people about Jesus (Acts 13:1-3). He started lots of churches and wrote many letters to encourage them and teach them more about how to follow Christ. Some of those letters are in the Bible (Romans-Philemon).
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:4, “It is true that Christ was weak when he was killed on the cross, but he lives now by God’s power. It is also true that we share his weakness, but in dealing with you, we will be alive in him by God’s power” (ERV).
What About You and Me?We think of Peter and Paul as doing incredible things for God. It can be easy to forget that they were just people like you and me. There was nothing really special about them except for the fact that God changed their lives and they decided to live for Him, no matter what. Because of that decision, when God asked them to do hard and scary things, they did it. They knew that God was always with them (Hebrews 13:5) and would give them the courage and strength to do whatever God wanted them to do (Acts 1:8).
Image Depositphotos.com/ nejronIt's like when you throw a pebble into some water. The pebble itself is not very big, but it makes ripples that spread and touch the entire pond. When you live for Jesus, you touch the lives of those around you (Matthew 22:37-40). They see you serving God. You love and serve them. You also tell them about Jesus. Even if that is not very many people, some of those people will come to know Jesus and start living for Him. They do the same thing you did, living for God. Then the people they tell about Jesus come to know Him and the cycle goes on and on. Have you decided to follow and live for God, no matter what? (Learn more about that here.) Do you trust God to always help you do what He wants you to do? God has great things in store for you too, my friend. All we have to do is follow Him one step at a time.
We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIRV)Take time right now to pray. Thank God for Jesus. If He has changed your life, thank Him. Ask God to help you live for Him every day. Ask Him to show you how to do it. What are some hard things the Bible asks you to do? Have you ever been teased or hurt because of following Jesus? What did you do? Tell us about it in the comments below.