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Greek Word Study - Take Heart

Two million people were trapped between the sea and the approaching Egyptian army. Escape was humanly impossible. In that moment of supreme crisis, Moses cried out to the people, “Fear not! Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!” (Exod 14:13).

The Greek word used there in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament was tharsei (THAR say), and it meant “to dare to be bold,” “to take courage,” “to replace fear with hope.” It was like a bugle call in a time of emergency. It was a cry of hope in a crisis: “Take heart!” Repeatedly through the Old Testament, God’s people were encouraged to take heart, based on who God is and what God would do. “Fear not, O Zion . . . the Lord your God is in your midst” (Zeph 3:16-17). “Take courage . . . I am with you . . . My Spirit is abiding in your midst; Do not fear!” (Hag 2:4-5).
Jesus’ disciples were well acquainted with tharsei in their Greek scriptures. They knew it meant something like, “Cheer up! Your Lord is here to help!” One night on the Sea of Galilee they were watching in terror as a figure approached in the darkness, walking on the water. Then they heard the figure speak, “Take courage, it is I” (Matt. 14:27). Now tharsei is on the lips of Jesus.

Another day a helpless paralytic heard Jesus say, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven” (Matt 9:2). A hopeless woman was told by Jesus, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well” (Matt 9:22). Blind Bartimaeus lived in utter despair until Jesus came to Jericho and they summoned the blind man, saying, “Take heart, arise! He is calling for you” (Mark 10: 49).
So it’s O.K. now. God is indeed in our midst, and because of that it’s going to be all right. Whether we face the Red Sea with Moses or the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus there is hope. “Be of good cheer (tharsei), for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).