Do not be afraid

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. — Matthew 14: 27–29

Message

We recognise the Lord and trust in him.

Weathering the storms of life

Like the disciples of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, we too come up against winds at times and have to weather storms. Those who model their lives on the gospel will often meet with in – comprehension despite the fact—or precisely because of the fact—that they act in accordance with the law of Christ. However, even in such situations Jesus is near and calls out to us, “Do not be afraid!”

Acting on the law of Christ

It was the Lord, the Son of God, who gave us his law, namely the commandment to love God and our neighbour. The help of the holy spirit gives us the strength to put the law of Christ into practice even when things become difficult.

It can also happen that we are surprised by sudden misfortune. Even at such times, the Lord calls out to us, “Have no fear! I have permitted this trial.” We trust in the Lord and are certain that he will never allow us “to be tempted beyond what [we] are able” (1 Corinthians 10:13). For this reason we have the chance to prove our love for God even in such trials, and thereby draw even closer to the Lord.

The disciples could not imagine anyone being able to walk on water. They assumed that what they were seeing was a ghost. Jesus called out to them saying, “It is I!” — When we meet people who at first seem so strange and so different from us that we cannot imagine associating with them, let us remember the words of Jesus, “I was a stranger …” (Matthew 25:43). The Lord calls on us to approach our neighbour— even if he is different—and thereby fulfil the law of Christ, namely the commandment to love our neighbour.

Jesus draws near to us

The majesty of God fills us with holy reverence (Luke 5: 8). It is impossible for a human being to achieve perfection by his own abilities. Jesus knows this. That is why he meets us half way and extends his helping hand to us in order to strengthen and aid us.

Peter walked on the water, but then quickly began to doubt. When he saw that he was sinking, He called out to Jesus for help, and Jesus saved him. We too can at times have our doubts, namely:

  • When we see the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73: 3).
  • When we have to face various tests and trials and do not yet recognise their purpose properly.
  • In the face of the disinterest—and indeed hostility—of our neighbour.
  • When we find ourselves waiting too long for the blessing of God to manifest itself.
  • As a result of our mistakes and weaknesses.

When we find ourselves in doubt, let us not hesitate to call upon the Lord for help! He will draw near to us and extend His hand in order to save us!

* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for service held on Sunday, 15 February 2015 at Midrand Congregation

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