“Hello” and “Be of Good Cheer”

hello and be of good cheer “They all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’”  – Mark 6:50, NKJV

When you greet someone do you say, “Howdy!” “Hello,” or just “Hi”?  It may depend on your age or your culture, or the person to whom you are speaking; yet greetings and farewells are all-important.  In ancient days the Greek word for “hello” was a salutation that meant, “joy.” Their word for “hello” came from the stem of the word “joy.”  In keeping with their culture and their optimism, they put the accent on pleasure and wished the same to their countrymen.  The Romans, on the other hand, used the word for “strength” when they greeted someone.  Their greeting came from the word that meant “to be strong,” so when they said “hello” they were wishing a choice virtue for a person–strength.  Joy and strength–happiness and plenty–these are admirable virtues, but, at times in life, neither joy nor strength is enough.

Surely it must have been for that reason that Christ chose a different term of greeting.  His favorite expression for greeting a person was, “Be of good cheer”.  What Christ said took joy and strength and elevated them to a new level.  To the fearful disciples, who thought that death was imminent when they saw Him walking on the water, Christ said, “Be of good cheer” (Matthew 14:27).

To the man sick of the palsy Christ offered the greeting: “Be of good cheer.”  When the disciples were worried and fear-struck about the future, the Savior so calmly said, “Be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  The question that must be faced is precisely this: “Is there reason today to be of a glad heart?”  In other words, when Christ says, “Be of good cheer” is that a message for us today?

Some today say, “No!”  They believe that life is just what you make of it, and for the most part, they believe that it is a pretty dismal sort of existence.  The world has always had some who were gloomy-eyed pessimists, thunder-struck with discouragement.  Some individuals have nothing over which they can be of good cheer.  If you rule out God, then you have to create your own cheer, and when that isn’t possible, there’s not much to live for.  It’s no wonder that the philosophers have tried quite unsuccessfully to make sense out of life when the very men who write the books eventually give up on it themselves, Friedrich Nietzsche being foremost among them.

hello and be of good cheerBut if Jesus Christ did anything to change the course of human history, there is no foundation for the despair of pessimism. The Christian message of hope and purpose centers in what Jesus Christ was and did.  If He did anything to alleviate guilt and despair, frustration and fear, anxiety and turmoil–if He did anything to remove our sin–then there is reason to look up and trust.

Following the death of Christ, the disciples hit the bottom of despair.  With sadness they said, “We thought it had been He that would have redeemed Israel–we hoped it was, but we were wrong.”  But their disappointment was swept aside by the message of the women, “He has risen!”  One more time those words were voiced, “Be of good cheer!  He is risen,” and those words became the watchword of the first century Christians, who greeted each other saying, “Be of good cheer–Christ is risen!”

To you who have never discovered that Christ’s influence didn’t end with His death at the hands of Roman soldiers, He still says, “Be of good cheer; whoever believes on Me shall never perish but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).  Only He can turn darkness to light as the echo reverberates, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Resource reading: Mark 6: 45-56

This devotional © by Harold J. Sala.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission from Guidelines International Ministries. Not for sale or profit.

Dr. Harold J. Sala

Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963.Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is heard the world over in a variety of languages. Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 55 books published in 19 languages.He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children (daughter Bonnie is now Guidelines president) and eight well-loved grandchildren.
Dr. Harold J. Sala

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