Jesus tells us "It is I, do not be afraid"
2nd Week of Easter : Saturday 17th April 2021
Acts 6:1-7; Ps. 32:1-2,4-5,18-19;
Jn. 6:16-21 (Ps Wk II)
In the Old Testament times, the laying of hands to confer an office was quite common, but in the New Testament the election of the Seven Deacons was the first mention of the laying of hands for this purpose. Jesus had blessed and healed people by laying hands on them, but not for appointment to an office. This laying of hands on the seven was a matter of great seriousness, especially as the seven were selected for their wisdom and for being filled with the Spirit, qualities which were also found in Joshua, successor to Moses. This seriousness rather suggests that the seven officials were undertaking not just the distribution of alms to the poor. They were to be also a hierarchy for the Hellenist Jews.
All seven were themselves Hellenists, as their names indicate. Incidentally, one of them was Stephen who was to become the first Christian martyr.
With the appointment of these seven Deacons, the complaints of the Hellenists were quickly settled, even if the complaints may have been indicative of a deeper rift. It was a comfort to the Hellenists, just as, in the Gospel passage we read today. The Apostles in the boat were comforted by Jesus coming to them and telling them not to be frightened. It was dark and the storm was overwhelming. They were not only distressed but also were longing for Him … “Jesus had still not joined them” (v. 18), so when he said “It is I” they recognised in it the divine of “I AM”, and were greatly relieved.
Lord, appoint for us leaders who long to hear Your Word. Amen.