When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them:
It is I; don’t be afraid.
(John 6: 18-20)
Friend, do you think terror and Christ are like oil and water; never mixing, never together, always distant? Do you believe that if your hands tremble your Creator must be far off?
It is not so.
Hear the words of our maker this evening: It is I; don’t be afraid.
For the Christian, these are words spoken eternally over our daily fears and traumas. These words sit over the news of cancer, in-between the parents that can’t have children, and under the child that just wants her dad back home. These soft and sweet words wrap up the widow who wonders about the heating bill. These words lift up the young father just trying to make ends meet. They surround the believer: It is I; don’t be afraid.
When suffering echoes in our dining room Christ does not stay distant. No, He is near and more than this; He is acting for your holiness. Here we meet a mystery too wonderful for our minds but beautiful enough to behold. Here we remember that on that dark night when the young crew was tossed about, their Maker came walking to them.
This is significant. He came walking to them. There, the maker of wind and water, calmly walked across His creation as if to say: “No wind blows without me letting it. No sea rises without me instructing it how to splash. It is I; don’t be afraid.”
Dear sister and dear brother, what do you doubt He is maker of? What do you feel He cannot walk upon and make holy? What do you fear is beyond His sovereign feet?
Whatever it is dear Christian, know that your beautiful Savior is there with you upon the trembling waves. He is there with you and speaks to you the same, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
If you cannot hear him, let’s learn to be quiet together. Let’s sit and remind ourselves about that night when nails pierced his hands, and scorn sat on his brow. Let’s sit and remind one another about how he went there for you and I, as if to say, “It is I; don’t be afraid. I’ll take your shame, your sin, and your folly too. I’ll take them. It is I; don’t be afraid.”
And then He rose and walked over the waves of death and said, “See, it is I; don’t be afraid.”
He still says this, Christian. He still comes to those that tremble at the waves.
More than this, he does not let one wave splash your face without Him walking on the water with you.
He really does love His children. He really does care about fear. He really is working out holiness for you and for me.