Beyond Locked Doors
Because I am going slowly through the text, let's briefly recap what happened on this day.
It's resurrection Sunday (or Easter). Mary comes to the tomb, notices it's open, and realizes the body of Jesus is gone. She returns to report this to the disciples, and then Peter and John run to the tomb to confirm it's empty. They deduce that someone has stolen or removed the body. Mary returns to the grave, which is exceedingly brave because this would have put her in a compromising position. This time, she discovers two angels and Jesus, who is raised from the dead, and then returns to report the all-important message — Jesus is alive. He is going to the Father and wants to see you, too.
Then we read this:
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” — John 20:19-21
Their reaction is to run and hide in fear. They perceive that Jesus's resurrection might ignite a fierce and possibly violent reaction from those who had already demonstrated a willingness to crucify what they could not understand or could not control.
Honestly, that's what I would have done too. I would have run and hid in fear. I would have locked the doors and debated the testimony of Mary, who was surely insistent on what she saw. I would have inflated the situation and cowered in the corner as well.
But in this cowering moment of cowardice, Jesus shows up. Locked doors and walls of stone mean nothing to the resurrected Jesus. "Peace be with you," he declared, not once, but twice. It was spoken as both a greeting and a promise. And then their fears and distress turn to unbelievable gladness and joy. Jesus was alive and standing in their presence. But then he gives them a fearless mission. As he commands them, I imagine him pointing them toward the locked door of fear, declaring, "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."
This is Jesus. He is always pointing his followers toward new boundaries of faith. Believers are not called to be comfort seekers or cowards in the corner. We are called to carry a call of conviction. One that persistently pushes up against paralyzing fears.
So, to be this man, you have to do three things. First, you have to stop hiding the miraculous truth about Jesus in your life behind locked doors. Sharing your faith and belief in Jesus can be scary, but you must stop running and hiding in fear. Unlock the door. Second, Jesus gives believers peace and power, not a spirit of fear and timidity. Accept Jesus's peace and the power of the Spirit, and cast all your anxiety on him. Third, live on and live out his mission today. Go into your world and tell it to someone today. Tell them that Jesus lives and he lives in you. And one day at a time, let's bust down those locked doors and tell the world that fear is gone and great joy has come.
In what areas of your life have you hesitated to share your faith, keeping the truth about Jesus "behind locked doors"? Discuss a time when you felt the Spirit prompting you to open up and what it would look like to respond in obedience to that call today.
Jesus greeted His disciples with "Peace be with you" amidst their fear. Reflect on a moment when you experienced the peace of Christ in a situation that previously caused you anxiety or fear. How can this peace empower you to carry out the mission Jesus has for you, even when facing potential opposition or misunderstanding?
DO THIS: Bust down those locked doors.
PRAY THIS: Father, grant me the courage to unlock the doors of my fear and boldly live out the truth of Your resurrection. Fill me with Your peace that surpasses understanding and propel me forward to share the life-changing power of Jesus with those around me. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Bondage Breaker.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.