Thursday, March 29, 2007

Take Courage

Greek Word Pronunciation: thar-SAY-oh
Strong’s Number: 2293
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 2510
Key Verse: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” -- John 16:33

Tharseo has the basic sense of “to dare; to be bold; to trust in something or someone,” and then, “to be of good courage, to be cheerful,” or “to be confident.” An example in the Septuagint is found in Proverbs 31:11, “the heart of her husband trusts in her.”

In the New Testament, the verb is used only seven times. It is always a command. In all but one instance, it is a summons on the lips of the Lord Jesus. (In Mark 10:49, others are telling the blind man to take courage because “He is calling you.”) Men are summoned to “take courage” in respect to what Jesus gives them or is to them. Behind the summons lies the claim of Jesus to give the necessary assurance in His life and work. The Gospel of Jesus chases away anxiety and distress.

In Matthew 9:2, Jesus tells the paralytic to take courage because “your sins are forgiven.” In Matthew 9:22, Jesus tells the woman with a hemorrhage to take courage because “your faith has made you well.” In Matthew 14:27 (and Mark 6:50), when He is walking on water, He tells His disciples to take courage because “it is I, do not be afraid.” [Note: In the Greek, the words “it is I” are literally “I am,” the same language used by Jesus in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.” It is the “I AM” who is coming to you.] In Acts 23:11, the exalted Lord comes to Paul in prison, telling him to take courage, because Paul’s hope of going to Rome is not in vain.

Finally, in JOHN 16:33, Jesus tells the disciples to take courage because “I have overcome the world.” Lawrence Richards says: "when discouraged or frightened by what we face, 'take courage' is a reminder that in Christ we can abandon negative attitudes and face life with a confident, optimistic attitude that disposes us to act in faith."

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