Good morning on this glorious Friday. I wish you God’s abundant blessings as you seek to serve him today. Our text for our brief meditation today is from the Gospel of Matthew. “But Jesus immediately said to them: Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (14:27).
Feeding 5000 – a heady miracle for the disciples who distributed the food and saw the loaves multiply – surely a faith strengthener. But what happens? Immediately after this account they experience paralyzing fear in a boat. They were asked by Jesus to travel; alone at night by boat to the other side of the lake. They do so, but then it happens, they run into strong winds and high waves. Though seasoned fisherman, the rough conditions and eerie night spook them and grip them with fear. To top it off there is a ghostlike figure walking on the water, and they cry out in terror. Their faith is certainly being tested.
Could a lesson of faith be in order for us? We witness daily God’s miracles. We see prayers answered. We see lives liberated from bondage through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We see wonder drugs of yesteryear, like hydroxychloroquine, having a dramatic effect in many people’s lives today. But then we start to doubt. Could what I am witnessing really be a miracle? Are people really being liberated from their demons and coming to faith, or is it just what I am hoping for them. Could it really be that a miracle drug from long ago is working. Yes, just like the disciples, we fear and doubt. And fear paralyzes us, doesn’t it? It paralyzes us to believe and prevents us from taking action.
But help through the darkness is in sight. Jesus says to his disciples and to us today, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” His voice is a comforting voice, is it not? Yes, the darkness at times remains. We, for example, have no idea when this black plague of disease and death will end. The waves of uncertainty still buffet us, but we need not fear,
We need not fear because Jesus triumphed over sin and fear in the darkness of Good Friday, remembered one week ago today. Will you think on these things? Amen.
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine