Take heart. That phrase is one that Jesus used during His time here on earth and even beyond, when He spoke to Paul as he was being jailed for Christ’s name sake.
In the Greek, “take heart” or tharseō, is a verb that means to be of good courage, cheer, and comfort, and the root words stem from words meaning to exercise courage, confidence, and boldness.
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”…”Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. (excerpts from Matthew 9:2-7)
A woman who had a discharge of blood for 12 years and longed to be healed touched Jesus’ clothes believing she would be healed, and Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:22)
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. (Matthew 14:27-29)
When a blind man “heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”…And they called the blind man saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus…And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” (excerpts from Mark 10:47-52)
Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?…I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:31,33)
After Paul had been taken by the Jewish counsel and caused quite a stir between the Pharisees and Sadducees, it says, “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.“ (Acts 23:11)
We can see the many different circumstances in which this phrase was used, but it was always used in relation to faith; whether it was to affirm, encourage, or boost one’s faith.
The people who brought the paralytic had faith that Jesus could heal their friend and whether the paralytic had the faith or needed a boost, Jesus encouraged him with “take heart” and the assurance that his sins had been forgiven, before he ever told him to get up and go home.
The woman with the discharge of blood had faith that merely touching Jesus’ clothes would heal her, and Jesus affirmed her faith with “take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well”.
When the storm was raging on the Sea of Galilee and the disciples were afraid as they saw Jesus walking on water, Jesus encouraged them and even foresaw Peter’s faith, as He said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And the next thing we see is Peter walking on water in faith as he walked to Jesus.
The blind man expressed faith in Jesus as Messiah as he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” and as soon as he heard people tell him to “take heart” and that Jesus was calling him, he sprang up and went to Jesus. Jesus affirmed his faith when he said, “your faith has made you well.”
When the disciples finally made a declaration of believing in Jesus as he spoke plainly to them, Jesus encouraged them as He told them of the tribulation that they would face in saying, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Paul testified of Jesus boldly before the Pharisees and Sadducees, and though it started what would become a long imprisonment journey for sake of Jesus, the Lord encouraged and boosted his faith, courage, and boldness in saying, “Take courage” and preparing Paul with a glimpse of what was to come.
What is Jesus calling you to “take heart” in?
Maybe your faith has been faltering in light of situations, or maybe God is affirming your faith and equipping you for future things to come. Where ever you currently are in your walk with the Lord, Jesus used this phrase then and it is still relevant today to affirm, encourage, and boost our courage, confidence, and boldness in Him. I’ll leave you with this further encouragement from Hebrews 10:
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:35-39)
So my friend, I encourage you today, to take heart!