Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
The disciples had left Jesus and embarked in their fishing boat to get to the other side of the lake. But the strong wind and high waves impeded their progress. In fact, they were rowing for about 10 hours and had traveled only about half the distance they intended to go. Tired and scared, they must have wished for Jesus to be with them. They recalled how Jesus saved them from the storm on the lake only a few months earlier. On that occasion, he was with them in the boat and simply commanded the wind to be still, and it was so. But this time, as far as they knew, Jesus was still at the place they left him, several miles away.
So they were surprised when Jesus appeared, miraculously walking on the water toward them. Instead of Jesus, they thought that they were seeing a ghost. This increased their fear because they thought that the appearance of a ghost was an omen of something terrible about to happen.
But nothing terrible was going to happen to them because Jesus was there. He spoke above the whirling of the wind and sound of the surf. “Take courage. It is I.” The familiar voice of Jesus was enough to drive away their fear.
Jesus is close to us. His voice sounds clearly through his promises in the Bible that he is always with us and that he will never leave nor forsake us. No matter how strong the winds of adversity blow in our face or as challenging as the waves of trouble might be in our lives, we can take courage in our Savior’s continual presence. He loves us dearly and assures us that he will help us overcome our circumstances, no matter how great the need or the danger may be.
Take courage. Jesus is with you!
Jesus, lead me to trust your promise that you are always with me to help and encourage me through every ordeal and detail of my life. Amen.