Wednesday (January 6): "Take heart, it is I; have no fear"
Scripture: Mark 6:45-52 [alternate reading for the Feast of Epiphany: Matthew 2:1-12]
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." 51 And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Meditation: Does the Lord Jesus ever seem distant when trials or difficulties come your way? Right after Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, he left his disciples by themselves so he could go to a remote place to pray alone.It was at Jesus' initiative that the disciples sailed across the lake of Galilee, only to find themselves in a life-threatening storm. Although they were experienced fishermen, they feared for their lives. The Lake of Galilee was known for its sudden storms whipped up by strong winds which swept down from the nearby mountains. The disciples must have cried out for help when they recognized that their boat was about to be capsized by the threatening waves.
Jesus always intercedes for us
Although Jesus was not physically with them in the boat, he nonetheless had been keeping vigilant watch for them in earnest prayer. When Jesus perceived their trouble he came to them walking on the sea and startled them with his sudden appearance. The disciples were terrified rather than joyful when they saw Jesus' presence on the water. They thought a ghost had appeared to seal their doom. They couldn't believe it was really him until he spoke words of assurance: "Don't give in to fear or panic, but take courage and be calm, because I am here for you and ready to help you in your need." Jesus not only calmed their fears, but the threatening waves and storm as well.
Do you recognize the Lord's abiding presence with you?
Does the Lord Jesus seem distant when trials and difficulties come your way? The Lord never leaves us alone, but keeps constant watch over us at all times, especially when we are tempted and feel weak or helpless. Do you look to the Lord Jesus to give you his strength and help when you are in need? Jesus assures us that we do not have to give into fear or discouragement if we put our trust in Him and remember his great love for us. He will see us through any trial that comes our way. When calamities and trials threaten to overwhelm you, do you respond with faith and hope in God's love and presence with you?
"Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and your ever
watchful presence, especially in times of adversity. Fortify my
faith with courage and my hope with steady perseverance that I may
never waver in placing all my trust in you who are my all."
Psalm 72:1-2, 10-13
1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to
the royal son!
2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
"Meanwhile the boat carrying the disciples - that is, the church
- is rocking and shaking amid the storms of temptation, while the
adverse wind rages on. That is to say, its enemy the devil strives
to keep the wind from calming down. But greater is he who is
persistent on our behalf, for amid the vicissitudes of our life he
gives us confidence. He comes to us and strengthens us, so we are
not jostled in the boat and tossed overboard. For although the
boat is thrown into disorder, it is still a boat. It alone carries
the disciples and receives Christ. It is in danger indeed on the
water, but there would be certain death without it. Therefore stay
inside the boat and call upon God. When all good advice fails and
the rudder is useless and the spread of the sails presents more of
a danger than an advantage, when all human help and strength have
been abandoned, the only recourse left for the sailors is to cry
out to God. Therefore will he who helps those who are sailing to
reach port safely, abandon his church and prevent it from arriving
in peace and tranquility?" (excerpt from SERMON
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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