Words of Encouragement

Read: Mark 6:45–53

Bible in a Year: Numbers 17–19; Mark 6:30–56

Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.—Mark 6:50

Our bodies react to our feelings of dread and fear. A weight in the pit of our stomachs, along with our hearts pounding as we gulp for breath, signal our sense of anxiety. Our physical nature keeps us from ignoring these feelings of unease.

The disciples felt shockwaves of fear one night after Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding more than five thousand people. The Lord had sent them ahead to Bethsaida so He could be alone to pray. During the night, they were rowing against the wind when suddenly they saw Him walking on the water. Thinking He was a ghost, they were terrified (Mark 6:49-50).

But Jesus reassured them, telling them not to be afraid and to take courage. As He entered their vessel, the wind died down and they made it to the shore. I imagine that their feelings of dread calmed as they embraced the peace He bestowed.

When we’re feeling breathless with anxiety, we can rest assured in Jesus’s power. Whether He calms our waves or strengthens us to face them, He will give us the gift of His peace that “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And as He releases us from our fears, our spirits and our bodies can return to a state of rest. —Amy Boucher Pye

Lord Jesus Christ, help me when the dread seems to cling to me. Release me from my fears and give me Your peace.

The Lord releases us from fear.

INSIGHT: When we read today’s story, we may wonder why these sturdy fishermen would be afraid of a “ghost” (Mark 6:49). But put yourself in their shoes. The disciples did see someone walking on the water—and they knew that was not possible. We may not fear the same things they feared, but we all have fears. Just like the disciples, we need the assurance of Jesus’s words: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (v. 50). The Lord who fed the multitude with a few loaves and fishes is the same one who walked on water. The disciples did not need to fear because they knew who Jesus was and what He could do. Jesus was essentially saying, “Don’t be afraid! You know me.”

What are you afraid of today? What do you need to remember about Jesus that can help you trust Him? J.R. Hudberg


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