Key Verse: Mark 6:50 “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
If there’s anything for which Jesus is most remembered by the secular world (apart from the Christmas story), it’s something recorded in this chapter: Jesus walking on the water. He and the disciples had just finished a very labour-intensive (to say nothing of people-intensive) task, the feeding of the five thousand. He insisted His disciples take a break, in fact we read, “He made His disciples get into the boat…” while He, himself, went “to the mountain to pray.” Later in the night, He saw His disciples straining at the oars as they fought the wind. So He walked out to them…on the water!
The disciples, predictably, were terrified. They were sure a ghost was walking on the waves, and cried out in fear. Jesus responded with the comforting words in all of scripture, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” The key words are, “It is I”. It’s Jesus, and if it’s He, then everything is okay. “Take heart. It is I.”
Someone has rightly said the the only adequate faith for deep distress is a person. Central in this vast created order is a person —the Person, the God of Love. Underneath all human sorrow and fear are the everlasting arms of a God who “so loved the world”. John MacMurray has wisely said,
“The sense that the world as a whole is personal is the very heart of religious experience. To the man with the sense of God alive in his soul the world is neither a mechanical system, nor and evolving something. It is something made by Someone, and brought to life by Someone, controlled, indwelt, loved by an infinite person, who is its meaning, its reality, and its good.”
(The Christian World)
Those three words, “It is I”, are pivotal to faith. We cry out in our distress, “O God!”, and we hear in reply, “It is I”. When we hear those words, any storm is suddenly put in perspective. A peace “that passes understanding” calms the waves and we rest.