Chapter 10 - It Is I. Be Not Afraid
Helen Dowd

The crowds couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw twelve baskets filled with loaves and fish. In amazement, some of the boldest of the crowd said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Their stomachs full, they put their heads together, plotting how they could capture Jesus and make Him their King. At last, they would be free of the Roman domination and be out from under the puppet King Herod.

But Jesus slipped from their presence and went to the mountains to pray.

Luke 9:18-20 – “And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ So they answered and said, John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and other say that one of the old prophets has risen again.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’”

Historical setting:
About 28 A.D.
Place: The Sea of Galilee.
Persons: Jesus and the twelve apostles.
Scripture: Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21

It was evening. It had been a long day. Jesus could see the strain on the faces of His disciples. He knew that they needed to get away from the crowds. He led the way to the Sea of Galilee, "Cross over to the other side while I send the multitudes away," He said to His disciples. After the crowds of people had dispersed, Jesus went back up the mountain, to His own private place, to pray.

Many of the disciples, being fishermen, felt at peace on the water, so they were glad of Jesus’ suggestion, relieved to be away from the crowds. As they climbed into their boat, they saw that several of the crowd had followed, climbing into other little boats. But they didn’t let that bother them. It was a beautiful evening. The mountains surrounding the Sea of Galilee cast their shadows on the smooth surface. Glittering stars and a full moon brightened the sky and reflected on the calm water, a perfect evening for sailing. The disciples stayed near the shore for awhile, waiting for Jesus to join them.

“I suppose Jesus isn’t coming,” ventured one of the disciples. “We’d better not wait any longer if we are to get there before it gets any darker. Let’s launch out into deeper waters. Perhaps Jesus will catch a boat with someone else and join us in Capernaum tomorrow.”

The gentle winds caught the sails of the little boat carrying the disciples towards the middle of the lake. No sooner had they left the sight of the shore, than the winds picked up. A storm was brewing! They pulled down the sails and held a tighter grip on the oars, as they headed into the deep. Waves began sloshing up into their boat. With all their might they rowed, fighting with the elements. They had come too far out now to return to the shore. The navigator glanced across the darkening water to estimate their whereabouts. They were about the same distance to the other side. Frightened, they rowed harder. The boat began tossing about, threatening to capsize.

In their panic they looked out at the threatening waves, about to swallow them. What they saw brought terror to each of them.

“It’s a ghost!” one of the disciples called out. Unmistakably, walking on the water was a form approaching them.. All eyes turned toward where their mate was pointing. “We’re going to die!” they shouted in unison. “We’re all going to die, right here in the middle of a lake we know so well.”

But wait! The ghost is speaking!

“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” They heard a familiar voice, but their fears had taken hold of their reason. Now the ghost was even speaking!

Peter, ever the daring one, blurted out: “Lord, if it is You, tell me to come to You.”

“Come!” said the familiar voice.

That was all the encouragement that bold Peter needed. Without noticing the look of shock on his mates’ faces, he stepped over the side of the boat, and into the raging waves toward Jesus. “I’m walking on water!” Peter couldn’t believe it. “I am actually walking on water. This can’t be real. People cannot walk on water.” Suddenly, taking his eyes off the Lord, and looking at the raging sea, Peter began to sink. “Lord save me,” he called out.

He felt the hand of Jesus, lifting him up. His fears left him. Then he heard the loving reproach, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Before Peter had a chance to reflect on Jesus’ question, and before he could even realize it, they were in the boat. Immediately the waves were calm and the men were safe. The weak faith of Jesus’ followers was restored. They fell at Jesus’ feet and worshipped Him. “Lord, we know who You are. You are the Son of God”

“Yes,” Jesus assured His disciples, “It is I. Be not afraid.”

© Helen Dowd


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