Saturday 17 April 2010

Bible Book:

"But he said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.'" (v.20)

John 6:16-21 Saturday 17 April 2010


Fear is a natural emotion and although the particular contextswhich provoke our most fearful reactions will vary from person toperson, there are perhaps some common themes. These might includedarkness, danger and a feeling of being out of control.

The disciples of Jesus were out in a storm, far from the shore, andin the darkness of night they experienced all of these conditions.They were out of control and feared for their lives and then Jesusappeared to them "walking on the lake". Initially they seemed notto recognise him and his appearance produced in the disciples aneven greater sense of terror. Once he spoke however, the scenechanged and they were eager to welcome him into the boat.

The words of Jesus here are interesting. The NRSV footnote suggeststhe alternative translation as being "It is I am", which brings tomind the conversation between Moses and God when Moses asked forGod's name and God replied "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). This is apowerful connection, but it may be more than John intends and sothe main text of the NRSV contains only the simple self declaration"It is I".

What is clear is the fact that Jesus appears to the disciples intheir time of darkness, of danger and of feeling out of control,and that this is enough to calm their fears and to bring themsafely to the shore.

When we are in darkness and danger or feel out of control, thisreading can bring us strength and encouragement. Jesus is not faraway even when, in the middle of the storm, we find it hard torecognise him. We are invited to remember that he also says to us"It is I", to welcome him into our boat and to remember that we donot face the storms alone. The words of Jesus spoken to hisfrightened friends are also for us. "Do not be afraid."

To Ponder

How can we learn to recognise the presence ofJesus with us even when our lives are full of storms?

Bring into your thoughts and prayers some ofstorms that you are currently experiencing and repeat to yourselfJesus' words: "It is I; do not be afraid".

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