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Weekly Devotion – John 6:20

By Mike Caton

John 6:20, But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

The disciples have spent a long night in a boat, on the Sea of Galilee, battling a fierce storm. They are undoubtedly wet, tired, maybe chilled from the water and wind, and now they are terrified of a ghost walking toward them on the sea. I wonder how close the ghost came. I wonder if the ghost bobbed up and down with the waves or if he just glided along. I wonder which disciples tried to get behind the others. John says they were frightened, we can only imagine.

But the ghost spoke to them and identified himself. (John has already told us this, but the disciples don’t know.) It was no ghost, it was Jesus. And he gave them the obvious instructions, don’t be afraid. That Greek word for afraid is phobeo. Have you ever heard of, or do you have, a phobia? And it is more than being frightened, it is being terrified, panicked, being scared enough to run away. But in that boat there was nowhere to run, maybe they were frozen with fear. But Jesus says not to be afraid at all. And the reason is simple, I am here, it is me. We can be sure that would ratchet their fear down. But they are still in a boat, in the middle of the lake, and in the middle of a storm. But none of that matters anymore, Jesus is here.

We need to remember that, regardless of what we find ourselves in, regardless of the circumstances, Jesus is there with us. We may not see him, as these disciples did. He may not speak to us in an audible voice, as he did that night. But make no mistake about it, Jesus never leaves his children. He promised these same disciples he would be with them always. And when life is threatening to sink our boat, we need to remember Jesus is there. The boat may still sink, the storm may continue to rage, but Jesus is right there with us. Things might not go as we want, we might even die in the storm. But then we will go and be with Jesus forever. And isn’t that what is important, being with Jesus. Whether in this world or the next, if we’re with Jesus, that’s all that matters.

Father, help me stay close. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.

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