Και οτε ειδον αυτόν, επεσα προς τους πόδας αυτου ως νεκρός• και εθηκεν την δεξιαν αυτου επ’ εμε λέγων Μη φοβου• εγώ ειμι ο πρωτος και ο εσχατος
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’
Revelation 1:17 NIV
Μη φοβου, mee foh-VOO, ‘Do not be afraid!’ The words of Jesus, now proclaimed Christ and Son of God by His resurrection from the dead, spoken to His trembling seer and servant John, His beloved disciple, now an old man imprisoned on the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony—two Greek words spoken to me in my mind as I awoke this pre-dawn, will not let me go. Other thoughts have arisen to replace them, but these two words grip my heart as I arise.
Μη φοβου! The same words spoken by Jesus to a crowd, that little bunch of frightened disciples crammed into their fishing boat in a storm, seeing Him walking over the waters, becomes Μη φοβεισθε, mee foh-VEES-theh. They oughtn’t to have been afraid. There wasn’t just one of them watching the heavens and the earth being torn apart in a vision, only a wind-tossed lake in gale, and they were together, all seeing what no eyes had ever seen, a man walking on water.
Μη φοβου! resounds inside me, and I can almost feel that right hand placed on me as the words penetrate my fearful flesh. It is the day of resurrection all over again, because He who speaks thus, ‘Do not be afraid!’ has already ‘pierced to the uttermost depths the black and lightless rock,’ diving into the impenetrable stony silence of humankind’s mortal imbecility, to retrieve not only our first parents, Adam and Eve, from the common grave, but me as well.
Μη φοβου! cries with the sound of many waters as one Voice the unearthly Triad as They appear fearfully, in aspect terrible, to the demons, but with loving-kindness to Their children, the race of Adam, in the heavenly, only-begotten Son, Jesus. ‘Do not be afraid!’ is the Message He speaks now and ever, having once for all emptied Hades of rebels and robbers, and filled Paradise with a race of priests and kings. This is what He has entrusted to our ears, and to our lips, Μη φοβου! Μη φοβεισθε!
Yes, when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’