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The Pastor's Blog

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Paul’s visit to Jerusalem wasn’t a summer picnic but was fraught with trials and tribulation. As he entered the temple for worship and prayer, “the whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple... they were trying to kill him” (Acts 21:30–31). “The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Have courage! For as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so it is necessary for you to testify in Rome’ ” (Acts 23:11).

As Paul faced the possibilities of terrible trials and tribulations, Jesus appeared with comforting words. Jesus, the Resurrected One, promised Paul that his life would be spared and that he would make it safely to Rome. “Have courage!”

“Courage.” This Greek word is found only seven times in the New Testament. Let’s look at the other six…

Four faithful men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. When they couldn’t get in the front door, they carried their buddy to the roof, excavated a hole, and lowered the stretcher and their friend to Jesus. “Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven’ ” (Matthew 9:2). Miraculously his heart was made clean and his legs were made strong! He picked up his mattress and skipped out, a new man! “Have courage!”

When a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years heard that Jesus was in town, she faithfully entered the crowded streets. Boldly, she “approached from behind and touched the end of his robe, for she said to herself, ‘If I can just touch his robe, I’ll be made well.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Have courage, daughter,’ he said. ‘Your faith has saved you.’ And the woman was made well from that moment” (Matthew 9:20–22). “Have courage!”

When Jesus’ disciples were caught in a nasty storm on the Sea of Galilee, “Jesus came toward them walking on the sea… When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost!’ they said, and they cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. ‘Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’ ” (Matthew 14:25–27). “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Mark 6:50).

As Jesus was “leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, ‘Have mercy on me, Son of David!’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called the blind man and said to him, ‘Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.’ He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. Then Jesus answered him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabboni,’ the blind man said to him, ‘I want to see.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go, your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road” (Mark 10:46–52). “Have courage!”

There is one last case to consider. In John’s Gospel, Jesus comforted His disciples, promising that though He would be going away, they wouldn’t be left alone. Jesus’ Spirit, the Comforter, would be theirs! “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace… Be courageous!” (John 16:33).

That’s a promised made to Peter and John and the other Apostles, but it’s also a promise made to me and you. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace… Be courageous!”


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