And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
To be of good cheer means to have confidence, courage and boldness.
At this point in their journey the disciples had been chosen by Jesus to be in a special “elite” group and had witnessed many miracles and had heard much teaching by Jesus. Jesus had used His disciples to minister to many people and great multitudes. The disciples had to be feeling like they were something special.
So that the disciples could discover that they weren’t the source of all the power and miracles and great words, Jesus sent them out into a ship by themselves with a command to cross the sea while Jesus went alone to pray.
The disciples must have felt confident that this would be an easy task to accomplish as they had already ministered to many people and large crowds. In addition to their ministry success, several of the disciples were seasoned fishermen and knew how to cross the sea.
Of course, not long after starting out to do the will of God, as it had been revealed to them by Jesus Himself, here come the storms and rough seas. The disciples soon discovered that they were not the great spiritual ones and did not have the necessary talents to overcome the opposition in their “Jesus assigned task”. Not only did they discover their lack but they also soon discovered that instead of confidence, courage and boldness they were instead filled with fear.
They were so fearful that when Jesus came walking to them on the water they thought He was some spirit and failed to recognize Him as they cried out in fear. As soon as they had discovered their fear, Jesus spoke to them and filled them with new confidence, courage and boldness saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
When we discover our weaknesses we are not doomed to everlasting defeat but rather we have reached the place where Jesus can fill us with new confidence, boldness and courage to go forward in the power of the Name of Jesus, understanding it is all Him.