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“Take courage, it is I”
[Mt 14:22] Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.  After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.  But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
[Mt 14:22] Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.  After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
“He was there alone.”
Remember that this trip began because Jesus sought solitude following his cousin’s, John the Baptist, arrest. The crowds followed Jesus to the wilderness like children, they responded to Christ without reservation: “Wherever Jesus is; he will care for us.”
 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
“For the wind was contrary”
The wind was “contrary [NT1727 enantios],” this is a great term for us to learn. No matter which way the disciples set their sails and no matter how hard they worked; the wind blew the opposite way. The boat itself was “battered” [NT928 basanizo], a word meaning tortured or torn apart. Why are those terms important to us? Matthew wants us to understand the circumstances in which Jesus miraculously appears in our lives. Look for our Lord when the wind is contrary and our vessels are tortured. Matthew—who witnessed this event—wants us to know that it is when we feel most torn apart that we can also be most expectant of our Lord’s miraculous appearance. In fact, Matthew tells us that Jesus doesn’t appear until the “fourth watch.” That is the darkest watch of the morning. That’s when Jesus is wonderfully present. The fourth watch of the darkest storm when our boats are most tortured. Expect Jesus then!
“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Here is one of Christ’s most prominent sayings, “Take courage.” He uses it to heal the sick and possessed in Matthew 9:2 & 22, and in Mark 10:49. Then again in John 16, he commissions the disciples with the same word for courage:
[Jn 16:33] “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
[Da 10:19] He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
[Jdg 6:22] When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”  The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”  Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it; “The LORD is Peace.” To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
You have to love Peter. His successes are always no more than a sentence away from his failures, but his failures take place at the fringes where others wouldn’t even dare be found.
[Jas 1:5] But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,  being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
“You are certainly God’s Son!”
Jesus had fed the thousand’s, healed the crippled, cleansed the lepers but the disciples didn’t validate his messianic claim until he saved their bacon from the fire. So often, we hear the testimonies of others and see the change in someone else’s life but we won’t believe in Jesus until he comes to us in the storm.
About the Author
Jerry Goebel is a community organizer who started ONEFamily Outreach in response to gang violence and youth alienation in a rural community in Southeastern Washington. Since that time, Jerry has worked with communities around the globe to break the systemic hold of poverty by enhancing the strengths of the poor.
Copyright © 2007 Jerry Goebel. All Rights Reserved. This study may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Jerry Goebel: 2007 © http://onefamilyoutreach.com.
Scripture Quotations noted from NASB are from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION of the bible. Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
The New Testament Greek Lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” These files are public domain.
The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon; this is keyed to the “Theological Word Book of the Old Testament.” These files are considered public domain.
NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. (www.Lockman.org)
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