It is I; do not be afraid

In the Old Testament, God is described as master over the waves. God “alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8).

So even though it’s surprising, it’s no surprise that Jesus walks on water in John 6. After all, he is God come to us in human form.

Not only did Jesus perform this miracle, and not only did he show himself as God-with-us, but he would have caught the attention of those who knew nothing about the God of the Bible. 

Many people in the Greco-Roman world identified the sea with the supposed deity Poseidon or Neptune. So to see Jesus trample over the waves, unaffected by their lashing threats, would have also communicated his sovereignty to them.

When Jesus gets to the disciples, he says: “It is I; do not be afraid.”

You sometimes hear it said that the phrase “do not be afraid” appears 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not true. Sorry, I did a search. But do you want to know what DOES come up a lot? The name of Jesus! In fact, it occurs 914 times in the New Testament.

That’s two and a half Jesuses for every day, so it’s even better than one “do not fear” for every day. Okay, this is getting silly, but my point remains: The powerful presence of Jesus is greater than the powerful presence of fear.

My brother Matthew Henry says: “When trouble is nigh Christ is nigh.” That doesn’t mean he is the cause of trouble, but that he comes to eclipse trouble with his very presence for those who are under his care.

Are you battling the dark? Do you feel like you’re sometimes (or all the time) tossed around by the waves of life?

Receive the words of Jesus: “It is I; do not be afraid.” 

The powerful presence of Jesus is greater than the powerful presence of fear.


Notes:

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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