But straightway Jesus spoke to them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.—The accuracy with which the words are given by St. John, as well as by St. Matthew and St. Mark, shows the impression which the incident made on the minds of the disciples. To hear the familiar tones and the cheering words was enough, even amid the howling of the winds and the dashing of the waves, to give them confidence and hope. We can scarcely doubt that in after years that moment came back to their recollection, invested for them, as it has since been for the Church at large, with something of a symbolic character. Often the sky became dark, and the waves of the troublesome world were rough, and the blasts of persecution beat on them, and the ark of Christ’s Church was tossed on the waters, and they were wearied and spent with rowing. They thought themselves abandoned, and then in the dim twilight they would see or feel once again the tokens of His presence. He was coming to them through the storm. “Be of good cheer” became the watchword of their lives.
For the exposition, see on Joh 6:15-24.
And in the fourth watch of the night, that is, about three hours before the rising of the sun; for though the Jews anciently divided the night into three parts, each consisting of four hours, yet being at this time under the Romans, they kept to their division of it into four parts, which they called watches, from their military guards, which they relieved every three hours.
Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea, as if it had been firm ground.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit, and they cried out for fear. By this it seemeth that the doctrine of spirits was not strange to that age, though they had a sect of Sadducees which denied it. That the devil, by God’s permission, hath a power to trouble and agitate the air, and also to assume a visible shape, and in it to affright persons by sea or by land, is unquestionable. When the disciples at distance saw Christ walking on the sea, they concluded it was some such apparition. This made them cry out through fear.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. Mark addeth, Mark 6:52, They considered not the miracle of the loaves; for their heart was hardened. Having had so late an experience, both of the power and goodness of their Master, in their late strait for want of bread, they ought not so soon to have showed a distrust in his providence, as if he would have suffered them to have perished in the sea: that miracle did not make a due impression upon them.
saying, be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid: take heart, be of good courage, do not be affrighted at my appearance, from whom you have nothing to fear; nor be afraid of the storm and tempest in which you are, I will deliver you; for it is I, your Master, Saviour, and Redeemer, and not any hurtful spirit; who am able to save you, and am come for that purpose. Christ may be sometimes near his people, and they not know him; as the Lord was in the place where Jacob was, and he knew it not, Genesis 28:16 and as Christ was standing by Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre, and she took him to be the gardener: and for want of a distinct knowledge of Christ in his person, offices, and grace, persons have wrong apprehensions of him, and are filled with dread and fears, concluding they have no interest in him; that he is a Saviour, but not of them; that their sins are so many, and of such a die, and attended with such aggravating circumstances, that though he is able to save them, he never can be willing to receive such vile sinners as they are: but when Christ makes himself known unto them, as the able and willing Saviour, and their Saviour and Redeemer, then, instead of dreading him as a judge, their fears vanish, their faith increases, and they are ready to do anything he shall order them; as Peter says in the next verse, who was willing to come to Christ on the water, when he knew who he was, if he was but pleased to bid him come.But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 14:27. ἐλάλησεν: Jesus spoke; the words given (θαρσεῖτε, etc.), but the mere sound of His voice would be enough.Verse 27. - But straightway Jesus spake unto them (ἐλάλησεν, not ἔκραξεν). He was evidently near them. Saying, Be of good cheer (θαρσεῖτε, Matthew 9:2); it is I; be not afraid. Encouragement, self-manifestation, recall from present terror. But the absence of θαρσεῖτε in John 6:20 suggests that it is, perhaps, a duplicate rendering of the Aramaic for μὴ φοβεῖσθε. For the LXX. commonly translates "fear ye not" by θαρσεῖτε (e.g. Exodus 14:13; Exodus 20:20). One or two second-rate manuscripts omit θαρσεῖτε in Mark, but this may be only due to a reminiscence of John. It is also omitted in Tatian's 'Diatessaron' (edit. Hemphill).
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