“Be of good cheer. It is I. Do not be afraid.” — Matthew 14:27 MEV
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33 MEV
In the first passage, the disciples were caught out on the water in a terrible storm, and Jesus had come walking toward their boat, walking on the water. They were afraid of the storm and then afraid of him. They thought he was a ghost.
As I meditated on the second passage, I was reminded of the first because this command to be of good cheer is all bound up in the person of Jesus — who he is, and what he has done.
The disciples weren’t to fear the raging storm, nor the spectral spirit: Jesus told them to fear neither the natural, physical elements, nor any spiritual threat.
(Not just ghosts; I wouldn’t say many people today are afraid of ghosts, but many people fear eternal damnation, or at least believe it’s a possibility, or believe they can somehow lose their salvation; that an accidental sin might cut them off from fellowship with God.)
But I think Jesus is assuring us, it is He, and He has done all that was necessary for our salvation. There is no physical or spiritual threat to us that we need to fear. There’s only Jesus. “It is I — do not be afraid.”
Then in the second passage, he is talking about existential threats as well as physical ones: “in the world you will have tribulation,” but be of good cheer — he has overcome the world.
Once again our good cheer and ability to be fearless is wrapped up in Jesus. There’s nothing else which can set us so free — there’s no other name under heaven by which we might be saved. There’s only Jesus, and he is forever enough.