One of the interesting things about this story is that Jesus gives the disciples the recipe for courage. We gain courage by knowing God and choosing to trust him. A lot of times we think of courage as the absence of discomfort. But it is really about choosing whom to trust in the midst of discomfort.

The disciples originally think Jesus is a ghost. It is night time and there is a figure wading across the water. They’ve constructed myths and narratives to explain what they are seeing.

We do the same thing. We are sure when trouble arrives that we are done for. The end has come. We are sure there is no coming back from this circumstance. We are so ready to be afraid. So ready to give up. So ready to adopt the false perspectives that are clanging around this world.

Jesus offers another way. He invites the disciples to “take” courage. How? By knowing the truth. By trusting. We get our courage from the presence of Jesus. He is extending it to us; it is something only possible through a trust in who he is, an extension of knowing The Truth.

The preceding verses say that Jesus intended to walk by them to the other side of the lake. But he stops and gets in the boat to comfort his disciples. In the most startling of circumstances, his presence is the source of our courage.

“But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, ‘Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.’”
– Mark 6:49-50