From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Lectio Divina “take heart”

Lectio Divina “take heart”

Gospel reading: Matthew 14.22-27 [28-end]

[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’

Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.


Verse 27 is one of the most comforting in Scripture. Three-fold comfort, even:

‘Take heart,
it is I;
do not be afraid.’

The Greek behind the second fold is ego eimi, which means ‘I am’. Jesus is identifying himself with God, and in the reality of God’s presence there really really really is nothing to fear: ‘Take heart, I am; do not be afraid.’

Do not be afraid when life seems precarious and everything seems against you and battering you. ‘All things are in my hands. I got you.’

Do not be afraid when the unexpected breaks in. ‘I will be with you.’

Jesus had spent the night on a mountain, praying, before he came to the disciples walking on the water. On 6 August in two days it will be the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Gospel will tell of him leading Peter, James and John up a high mountain and being transfigured before them. “[The disciples] fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ ” (Matthew 17.6-7; NRSV).

‘Take heart,
I am with you as you struggle up the mountain;
I am,
I am with you on the mountain top of encounter;
do not be afraid,
I am with you as you descend the mountain to an uncertain future’


Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio Divina group on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. These are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.