Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6, verses 47-50
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” That’s a tall order.
Hello, friend, and it’s good to be back. My wife and I just returned from a cross-country trip to see our daughter, family, and to work. Lots of folks said to me “you’re driving that far?” and I responded “it’s no big deal.” To me, it is no big deal because I can take courage through Jesus in anything, especially something as simple as driving between the lines.
Think back on the context for these verses. Jesus had made His friends get into a boat while He went up on a mountainside to pray. Perhaps He could see them off in the distance; perhaps He could see them struggling to keep the boat in place. Do you think the disciples felt afraid at that time because, later, they saw Jesus walking out on the water they were terrified. Not upset, not stressed, not just afraid: they were terrified.
And then a miracle happens. The obvious miracle is the walking on water, right? If you’re one of the disciples, this would scare the snot out of you. Even if you’re following Jesus, that’s not something you see anyone else doing. The disciples – the men we think were so in-tune with all things spiritual and true – thought Jesus was a ghost. When He called out to them, they realized it wasn’t a ghost but was their Master.
Yet what about the less obvious miracle; did you catch it? The Creator of the Universe is personally telling His followers to “take courage.” He has given them the good weapon of courage and has given them the ability to take and use it. That’s huge.
Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen anyone walking on water. If I did, I might just get scared like Peter and the rest did. It’s not something you see every day and, if you do, chances are something supernatural would be happening. Yet I think the deeper miracle is what the Almighty does for His followers. He tells them to “take courage.” It’s something they can do because even in their most terrifying moments Jesus is with them. He is encouraging them to have faith that they can overcome anything through Him.
What’s so different for us? Can you and I take courage in anything because we know Jesus walks the water in our lives? You know the answer. And because we can take courage, then nothing is beyond our doing. Nothing at all, whether it’s righting a boat, driving 5000 miles in 10 days, staying married 30 years with the same person (and happy anniversary today to my sister and brother-in-law, by the way), or simply showing up at work every day and giving each one our best. If anything, we need courage for that.
Lord Jesus, be my one and only courage in this life.
Read Mark 6, verses 45-56.