Daily D – Mark 6:50
Mark 6:50 They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” (NLT)
“It’s good to know a little Greek. There’s one who runs a restaurant near our home.”
It’s an old joke. I heard a retired pastor tell it during a funeral one day.
I studied Greek for two years in seminary. Professors Sharon Gritz and Virtus Gideon patiently instructed us. They stretched our minds. They taught us what to look for that might be missed when reading our English translations.
One example of something we ordinarily miss is the full impact of the five Greek words translated “Take courage,” “Don’t be afraid,” and “I am here.”
The best English translation of this verse is possibly the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) where it says, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Have courage” is one Greek word.
“It is I” is two words.
“Don’t be afraid” is two words.
Think back to Exodus 3 and 4 and the story of Moses’ encounter with the burning bush. God identified himself with the covenant name we translate YAHWEH. When Jesus says here, “It is I,” he uses the Greek term corresponding to this name God spoke to Moses.
Old Testament and New Testament, in every kind of literature in the Bible, we hear God say repeatedly, “Don’t be afraid.” “I AM.” “Be strong and courageous.”
When the wind and waves were too strong for his disciples, Jesus walked to them on the water and scared the wits out of them. This is a kinder expression than what we Texans often say, “Scared them spitless.”
Suppose you run into a storm today or sometime soon. Remember what God told Moses, what he later told Joshua (Joshua 1:1-9), and what Jesus told his frightened followers. “Be strong and courageous.” “Don’t be afraid.” “I AM.”
The Eternally Present One has never left us alone. We have never been out of his care. We can depend on him to never leave us or forsake us. We belong to him.
Because he is with us, and because we belong to him, we can live courageously and confidently.
Because he is with us, we do not have to fear anything that comes our way. He is bigger and better than any hurt, pain, or evil directed at us.
Because he is with us, we can trust that no matter what happens next, the final word is his because he is the Eternally Present One, the Great I AM.
God is here.
Don’t be afraid.
I will live courageously and confidently because God is here leaving me with nothing to fear.
Our Father, of all the gifts you give, your presence is the best of all. Empower us to live, work, and play in this conscious reality today. Remind us as often as necessary that bushes blaze without burning up in your presence. Remind us that deep blue seas and flooding rivers hurry out of the way at your command. Remind us how every star forming every constellation was formed and placed at your direction. Remind us that our daily bread and our safe travel are each gifts of your grace and glory. Open our eyes to your majesty, wonder, and nearness today. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.