Something really awesome happened on Sunday. We were reading from John 13 and one of the kids caught what seemed like a very little phrase… Here is what happened.
We were going along, reading a little at a time, and asking questions; Who are the characters? What is happening? What is the setting? We started at verse 21 and we were headed to chapter 14 verse 1, when one of the girls suddenly had a very perplexed look on her face.
“Wait!” She interjected, “Wasn’t it already night time? Aren’t they at dinner? Why does it say ‘and it was night?’ Why does it need to say that?”
Enter awesome moment!
“Well,” I said, “The writer is using his words on purpose, every word is trying to help us understand something. So what would ‘it was night’ help us understand about what is happening?”
This led us into a whole discussion about what “night” communicates to us…. Our basic conclusion: the things we are generally the most afraid of seem to happen at night, when it’s dark. We tend to be the most nervous and scared at night.
At this point of the story in scripture, we decided the author is trying to help us understand that this is one of the darkest, scariest moments for the disciples… Jesus is even described as “troubled.” Jesus knows what is happening next, but the disciples are still clueless! But they are getting nervous about things… they are headed into one of the scariest times of their lives. But that is what makes Jesus’ words in John 14:1 so amazing.
In the middle of the scariest moment, Jesus says this:
When we understand and really look at the words in the passage, I think it brings a new significance out for us. I’ve seen and heard John 14:1 a lot. But the time on Sunday really paying attention to the words around it was significant.
As we wrapped up on Sunday, I asked one last question, “What does this mean for us?” This is what we concluded: In the middle of the night, when everything seems to be the most threatening, the scariest, the darkest, we need to hear Jesus say, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” We don’t need to be overcome by fear; we can trust Jesus even in the darkest time.
It was a really good lesson in children’s church on Sunday…