Matthew 17:5-7 NKJV (5) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (6) And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. (7) But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”
Peter, John & James had gone up the mountain with Jesus to pray. While they were there some amazing things happened and even though according to Luke they fell asleep and missed most of it, they had woken up in time to see Jesus light up with the glory of God and talking to Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted to camp out in that religious experience and build three tabernacles to worship and remember this amazing moment, when God spoke in an audible voice recapturing the awe and magnitude of the moment. Peter, James and John fell face down in holy terror. This was one of those, “I can’t believe I just said that” moments. While they lie on the ground trembling in fear, Jesus approached them touched them and told them, “… do not be afraid” it is going to be ok. I picture Jesus just putting His hand on Peter’s shoulder as He spoke those words filled with grace and compassion to His friend.
Though very few could relate to how Peter, James, and John must have felt in that moment, we have all experienced fear and moments of anxiety that filled us with at least momentarily debilitating dread. BUT no matter what the situation is, no matter the fear, no matter the worry and no matter the dread, JESUS is right there. He has come alongside, laid His hand on your shoulder and with grace and love filled words said, “do not be afraid.”
Praise God, what is there to fear when Jesus is near. Jesus is with us in our most terrifying moments letting us know we don’t have to fear. He didn’t condemn them for having fear… but He didn’t want them to stay there. Jesus has come and made contact with broken humanity touching us with the hands of His grace and love. Fear Not! Jesus has come, put His hand on your shoulder and said, “…do not be afraid.”