In Matthew 14, the disciples were on a boat in an awful storm, being tossed about by torrents of wind and waves. Suddenly, the men saw Jesus walking toward them on the water. Scripture says, “And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear” (Matthew 14:26). What did Jesus do in that fearful moment? “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid’” (14:27).
I’ve wondered why Jesus used these particular words, “Be of good cheer.” Why would he say this to men who thought they were about to die?
The word cheer means “to be relieved, happy, released from fear.” And here, in the disciples’ time of distress, Jesus tied the word to his identity. Remember, these men knew him personally. And he expected them to act on his word by faith. He was saying, “The Father has promised I’ll come to you in your storm. It is written, “Therefore they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I’” (Isaiah 52:6). Likewise, our Savior expects the same faith reaction from us, in our distressing times.