“It is I.” (John 6:20)
The disciples were rowing in a strong wind. They were working hard, keeping the boat afloat despite the wind and the waves. The situation wasn’t desperate. These were able watermen who knew the sea and had determined that they could make it to the other shore in these conditions. Still, something happened, “and they began to be afraid” (John 6:19).
It wasn’t the wind or the waves that caused their fear. It was Jesus, appearing at a place they didn’t expect: right in the middle of the lake! As far as the disciples knew, he had gone off to a mountain to be by himself. What’s more, he was doing something they had never considered possible: walking on the water! No wonder they became afraid!
Isn’t that how it is with us, when God doesn’t do what we expect? When he acts at a time we hadn’t imagined he would? When he shows up outside our comfort zone of time or place or expectations of any kind? Of course it will stir up fear!
Jesus dealt with his disciples just as he wants to deal with us—by announcing himself. “It is I. Do not be afraid” (John 6:20). The literal translation of the Greek here is I am, just as in the Book of Exodus, when Moses asked God for his name, and God replied “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14).
It is I. Do not be afraid. Jesus wants to speak these words to you every time he reveals something new about who he is or what he wants to do in your life. He wants you to focus on who he is, even as he catches you off guard. He is all powerful, all knowing, all sufficient, always good, always loving, always merciful, always just. Sometimes God allows things to happen that redirect the paths of our lives. Sometimes he invites us to find him in unusual places or unexpected people. Sometimes he is “hidden in plain sight” in unlikely circumstances. Any of these can be just as bewildering and unsettling as seeing Jesus walking on water. And when it happens, we need to trust that the One who is good and loving and kind and powerful and sufficient for everything is with us. He will never leave us!
“Jesus, I believe that you are always sufficient for all my needs.”