This section of scripture takes place after the feeding of the 5,000. Once evening came, the disciples went down to the lake. They got into a boat and sailed across the lake to Capernaum. (John 6:16-17) Jesus had not yet joined them as he was by himself on the mountainside. (vs. 15). A place like this is where He would often go and spend time with His Father in prayer.
As they rowed, a strong wind came up and the waters grew difficult to navigate. Then Jesus approaches the boat, walking on water, around the 4th watch of the night. The 4th watch was around 3 to 6:00A.M. This meant that the disciples had been rowing for about nine hours though they had only gone three to four miles. They must have been exhausted and discouraged from their constant rowing. Their response to Jesus though was fear and trepidation. Jesus then calms them and says, “It is I; do not be afraid.”(vs. 20) Once they hear His voice, they let him into the boat. Next an amazing thing happens, they arrive immediately to shore.
When was the last time you heard Jesus say to you, “It is I, do not be afraid.” Maybe not audibly but in your heart. Maybe you are much like the disciples that are discouraged and exhausted from the storms of life. You need your Savior you to bring you safely to the shore. You’ve had it with the wind and waves and now you are ready for something more stable and sure.
For me personally, the last time I sensed Jesus tell me not to be afraid has been with my counseling. I’ve needed to go to hard and unseen places of the heart that can be painful and scary. Working though rejection from people I loved has been a big one for me lately. Past pain and hurts can make it difficult to really look long and hard at the true source of where it all started. With Jesus, I was able me to go to those painful places and receive acceptance from the Father.
Where do you need to hear from Jesus, “It is I, do not be afraid.” Let him meet you like he did the disciples. Let Him step into your boat and take you to shore. He is more than willing and able.