Thirty pieces of silver. The amount of money Judas Iscariot accepted to betray Jesus. Those thirty pieces were the Old Testament cost of a slave or the equivalent of four months’ wages. Like the high priests had requested of Judas, Jesus asks us to hand over our lives to Himself. He who made true life possible by his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave is waiting to show us eternal riches worth much more than four months’ wages!
So far on our journey, we’ve received fourteen gifts from Jesus. Fourteen pieces of our Savior’s heart. These gifts allow us to become more like Him. The names of each have been etched in stone to remind us they are eternal. We spread them out to get a snapshot of the generous heart of our Savior. We see that he has given us REST. JOB SECURITY. HEALING. LOVE. OPEN DOORS. HEAVEN. LIGHT. FREEDOM. MERCY. TRUST. LIFE. PEACE. FRIENDSHIP. BREAD of LIFE.
Our fifteenth piece of the Lord’s giving heart is COURAGE. With this blessing we are able to overcome impossible odds and move mountains for the Lord’s kingdom. To see how this gift of courage works we turn to Matthew’s gospel where Jesus walked on water. The specifics of the event add more meaning to the miracle. It was somewhere between three and six in the morning. The disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee while a strong wind whipped the water into threatening waves. Terrified, the disciples see Jesus walking on the water and were filled with fear. Enter Peter. He tells Jesus to call him, so that Peter may also walk on water.
“Come,” Jesus said. And Peter got out of the boat and walked on water. Jesus gives us the courage to be able to far surpass human ability when we face life’s challenges, or when we need to step out in faith but have have been afraid of the unknown. When we choose to let life distract us, like Peter who saw the wind, we start to sink. Jesus saved Peter just like He saves us.
After Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven, Peter remembered that night on the sea when the Lord gave him real courage. Peter tapped into that supernatural strength as he proclaimed the gospel message and witnessed 3,000 people baptized and added to the kingdom. This was Peter getting out of a different boat called fear and stepping out onto the water of God’s will.
On two different accounts in the Old Testament we see this same pattern play out. Moses spoke these words to his successor, Joshua: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6) King David said almost the exact same thing when he spoke to his son Solomon about building the temple: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” (1 Chron. 28:20)
When the Lord says, “Come,” we will get out of the boat of self/fear and go to where Jesus is. We, like Peter, Joshua, and Solomon will do the work he planned for us in advance and we will do it with the courage of our Savior.