WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 3, 2021
TOPIC: BE OF GOOD CHEER
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you’” (Matthew 9:2 New King James Version).
There are two similar statements in the Bible. One is in the Old Testament and the other is in the New Testament. The statements are “Be of good courage” and “Be of good cheer.”
I don’t know if there are some Bible translations that have “Be of good courage” in the New Testament, but Bible translations such as American Standard Version, King James Version, and New King James Versions record the statement or its variants only in the Old Testament. In the New King James Version, “Be of good courage is recorded in Numbers 13:20, 2 Samuel 10:12, 1 Chronicles 19:13, Ezra 10:4, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 31:24, and Isaiah 41:6.
The Hebrew word translated “Be of good courage” is chazaq, which means to strengthen, to prevail, to harden, to be strong, to become strong, to be courageous, to be firm, grow firm, to be resolute, to be sore. As used in other Bible translations in different places, to be of good courage means, among other things, to take heart and take courage.
In the New Testament, similar to “Be of good courage” is “Be of good cheer.” The phrase is not used in the Old Testament except in some translations in Genesis 43:23, Job 9:27, Isaiah 35:4, and Haggai 2:4. In all cases where “Be of good cheer” is used in the New Testament, in the New King James Version, they were the words of Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Matthew 9:2, “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you’” (Matthew 9:2 New King James Version). Did you see the phrase? I’m not going to talk about the reaction of the scribes to what Jesus said, describing it as blasphemous.
What is the meaning of “Be of good cheer”? This is very important. In the English language, “Be of good cheer” is an idiom. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the idiom means be happy. But what does this phrase in the Bible mean? The Greek word translated “Be of good cheer” is tharseo. According to The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, it means to be of good courage or be of good cheer. It also means to have courage (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
As we saw earlier, the Hebrew word chazaq means to “Be of good courage.” The Greek word tharseo means to be of good courage or be of good cheer. That means that the two similar phrases in the Old and New Testaments are saying the same thing.
While ministering to people, Jesus, at different times, told them to be of good cheer even when the situations they were in naturally were not favourable. He would tell them to be of good courage or be of good cheer. As we saw in Matthew 9:2, Jesus told the paralytic who was lying on the bed to be of good cheer. By this, Jesus meant that he should “Take heart” (Bible in Basic English; New Living Translation); “Be encouraged (New Century Version); and “Be of good courage” (Young’s Literal Translation).
On another occasion, Jesus told the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years and the bleeding had stopped immediately after she touched the hem of His garment, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22 New King James Version). The Bible says the woman was made well from that hour. Again, the Greek word used for “Be of good cheer” in this scripture is tharseo, meaning to have courage. The Weymouth’s New Testament uses for this last scripture the phrase “Take courage.” The Young’s Literal Translation renders it “Be of good courage” while the Revised Standard Version says, “Take heart.” Jesus will always tell any venturer of faith like this woman to be of good cheer or take heart. Why? Because if the person can believe, all things are possible to him or her who believes (Mark 9:23).
Also, in Matthew 14, Jesus told His disciples to be of good cheer. Jesus was walking on the water to meet His disciples who were in serious trouble on the sea because the wind was blowing against their boat. When they saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” They cried out for fear. Verse 27 says, “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid’” (New King James Version). The same story is told in Mark 6:45-50. In verse 50, Jesus again says, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (New King James Version).
As in other places where the phrase is used, the same Greek word I have pointed out is used and it means to have courage. Montgomery’s New Testament renders it as “Courage” and the Revised Standard Version uses “Take heart.”
In every situation you find yourself and whatever challenges of life you face, Jesus would always tell you to be of good cheer, take heart or be of good courage. Jesus would not tell you to be afraid or panic. He would tell you not to let your heart be troubled but to believe in God and believe also in Him (John 14:1). God’s command is always, “Fear not” whereas the devil’s work is to make you fear.
Even when things appear to be getting out of hand, Jesus would tell you, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful” (John 14:27 American Standard Version). Be of good cheer, no matter what. Take courage.
In John 16, Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (verse 33 New King James Version). He was preparing their minds to have courage ahead of the tribulations. We are in the perilous or dangerous times that Paul had spoken about (2 Timothy 3:1). Believers must take courage, take heart, or be of good courage. The Bible says this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith (1 John 5:4). Verse 5 asks, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (New King James Version). Nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, In everything, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:35-37). Therefore, be of good cheer.
When Jesus commanded that blind Bartimaeus should be called as he was crying to Him to have mercy on Him, the same people who tried to silence the blind man unsuccessfully had to call him, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you” (Mark 10:49b New King James Version). Be of good cheer. This is God’s command to you, too, as you face the challenges of life.
In Acts 23:11, the Lord (Jesus Christ) told Paul to be of good cheer, assuring him that as he had testified for Him in Jerusalem, so he must also bear witness at Rome. The Lord later exposed, through the son of Paul’s sister, the plot to kill him. The Lord later exposed the plot to kill Paul, through the son of Paul’s sister. Be of good cheer. God will frustrate any plot to harm or kill you. No enemy will shed your blood. Be not afraid.
The Lord who saved Paul and all the persons on the ship with him in Acts 27 will preserve your life. Encouraging the 275 passengers and crew on the ship with him on their voyage to Rome during which their lives were in danger because of a tempestuous headwind, Paul told them that no life shall be lost as an angel of the Lord whose he was and whom he served had assured him of this “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of life among you–but of the ship; for there stood by me this night a messenger of God–whose I am, and whom I serve– saying, Be not afraid Paul; before Caesar it behoveth thee to stand; and, lo, God hath granted to thee all those sailing with thee; wherefore be of good cheer, men! for I believe God, that so it shall be, even as it hath been spoken to me” (Acts 27:22-25 Young’s Literal Translation). In the New King James Version, the phrase “take heart” is used instead of “be of good cheer.”
Be of good cheer; be of good courage. Be of good cheer as you serve the Lord. Be of good cheer as you pray for and await your miracles. Hebrews 4:16 says we should come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Be of good cheer. Approach your Father with the confidence that He will answer you. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 New King James Version). Be of good cheer.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be of good cheer or take courage as I deal with the challenges of life. I shall not be afraid or anxious. I shall take courage and overcome. I shall come boldly to the throne of grace, that I may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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