It is important to note why Jesus told His disciples to be of good cheer irrespective of the odds confronting them.
May we appreciate God as we are now in Year 2019, after sending away Year 2018 a few days ago. None of us knows exactly, how 2019 will be, not even those, who make great predictions. The Words of the Lord Jesus, even in times like this, are comforting: “In this world, ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” – John 16:33. There is no doubt that all human beings, great and small, have tribulations. There is no doubt that in 2018, we, as individuals, in families and even as a nation, had plenty of them. It makes the reassuring Words of the Lord Jesus very important. “Be of good cheer,” He tells His people.
Uncle Elisha had a similar message for the barren Shunammite woman. “By of good cheer,” he seemed to be telling her, “About this time next year, you shall embrace a son” – 2Kings 4:16. She thought it was a joke but the prophecy was fulfilled. The devil, as could be expected, did his utmost to frustrate God’s work by causing the death of her son. Thank God, the woman did not hurry to bury him. Thank God, she did not go to native doctors, who might have attributed the death to one of her neighbours or to a family member. She went to Elisha, through whose intervention she conceived, irrespective of medical pessimism. When Elisha told her to take his staff and place it on her son’s corpse, and by implication, that she should be of good cheer, knowing that her son would come back to life, she insisted that he went with her. He did and prayed him back to life. The children of God must be of good cheer, for our God is still in control of our affairs, no matter the ills in 2018. I command all dead things in your life to resurrect now, in Jesus name!
A paralytic was brought to the Lord Jesus for healing and He said, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you”. The scribes were not comfortable with that, and they accused Him of blasphemy. Jesus told the man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house”. And he did. The multitude marvelled and glorified God. In 2019, may you not be among those who will condemn God’s servants. May you be among those, who will witness God’s miracles and then glorify Him!
In Matt. 14:27, one night, the Lord Jesus wanted to join His disciples in their boat but there was no boat to take Him there. He set aside the Law of gravity by walking on the sea, since all the elements must obey Him. The disciples were afraid, thinking that it was a ghost coming to attack them. “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid,” He told them. Uncle Peter, true to his nature, sebi, you know him, shouted that if it was Jesus, let Him allow him to walk on the sea like Him. He obliged him and he did. In 2019, may you, your family, friends, businesses, et cetera, walk on the sea at requisite!
On the journey to Rome, Acts 27, Paul, a prisoner because of the Lord Jesus, gave a prophecy that the journey would be tumultuous, which might cause the loss of lives and the ship. As would be expected, nobody listened to him. On the way, it happened as he had told them. In verse 22, he said, “Be of good cheer, no life will be lost”. And none was lost, except their ship. The soldiers had wanted to kill all the prisoners, including Uncle Paul, but God intervened because of him and their lives were spared. In an island, where they landed, the devil sent a deadly snake to kill Paul but God spared his life.
It is important to note why Jesus told His disciples to be of good cheer irrespective of the odds confronting them. It was not by their power or might but because He, the Lord of glory, had said, “I have overcome the world”. No mortal can make this claim. Jesus did because He is God incarnate. All things were made by Him and for Him. Some men, even pastors arrogate themselves to the position of the Lord. When malaria, ordinary malaria, troubles them, their true identity is revealed. I wrote some time ago, about a native doctor, who was playing God. It is sad that many people are credulous. They believed in him. Nobody believed he could die. How would he, when he was giving charms for life sustenance!
One of the men he gave charms for longevity and business prosperity, bought a new car and came to show it to him, for his blessing and to celebrate him. “Where is Daddy?” he asked. The people there were surprised for his surprised question. ”You don’t know?” someone asked him. “I didn’t know he has travelled. When is he returning?” he went on. “You don’t know Baba is dead?” A man asked with a drawl. “Baba? Dead! How can he die?” He burst into weeping, not because of his love for him, but for himself, remembering the charm he gave him and its assurance of life perpetuity. “But Baba has died and died young, I may also…” he rationalized. Unknown to him, God had said, “Curse be the man that trusts in his fellow man and makes flesh his arm – Jer. 17:5.
May I remind us that, when the Lord Jesus said, “Be of good cheer”, he was not speaking to the general public. It was a message for His disciples, God’s children, scattered today in different Churches. For the unbelievers, He said, “There is no peace for the wicked”. This is the fate of sinners, people, who have no personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus. As we look back to 2018 and indeed, to our past, we should audit our lives. Have we caused blood and tears to flow in some families? Have we cut corners, cheating our employers or our staff members? Have we done certain things secretly or in darkness, of which, nobody could associate us with? Have we been calling endearing names to our spouses, who are unaware of our infidelity? Do we praise and worship the Living God with our mouths while there are other gods hidden somewhere in our bodies or in our homes? Other people may not know all these, but God does. In that case, the message, “Be of good cheer”, is certainly not for us.
The good news is that there is still a way out. Uncle Paul warned that unless the people in the ship remained there, they would perish. No life was lost because they obeyed him. The backslider must return to Jesus. The believer must remain in Him, no matter the pains he is passing through, otherwise, he cannot benefit from this promise and he will also end in hell fire. For those, who have not surrendered their lives to Jesus, Noah built an Ark and pleaded with the people to enter free of charge or they would be drowned. Many people ignored him and perished. The Lord Jesus is the ark for sinners to enter and be saved. This is by surrendering their lives to Him now and accepting Him as their Lord and personal saviour.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 08023002471; [email protected]