Hope you had a wonderful Easter!
As I read the Easter story in the chapter of John this year, it was interesting to note where Jesus met the disciples that first Resurrection Sunday. The disciples had been through a lot in a short period of time. The Sunday before this particular day, Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna. By Friday, five short days later, their Messiah was hanging on a cross.
Dazed and confused, the disciples huddled together in a locked room, fearful the same thing was going to happen to them. They were trying to figure out what in the world had just happened. This isn’t how they imagined the story of Jesus ending. Their minds were swirling in confusion and grief.
Then the Gospel of John tells us this in Chapter 20:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19 (NIV)
I can’t help but think of our current situation as I read this. Here we are huddled behind locked doors, confused and afraid as we try to deal with our new normal. Our world has changed quickly and dramatically. This is not how any of us imagined 2020 would go, and we are left trying to make sense of it all.
But the beauty of this story I don’t want us to miss is that Jesus went right through those locked doors to meet the disciples where they were. He broke through the walls of confusion to give them words of peace.
Jesus breaks through our locked doors with those same beautiful words of peace!
And I love what Jesus says next:
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
This is not the end of the story! Not even close. This is only the beginning! This is a story that is meant to be continued.
The day that started in fear and confusion ended in joy and freedom. And there was work to be done. Jesus gave the disciples the great commission to continue the work He had started, to share the truth about who He was and what He did for us. And because they were faithful and did just that, we know the rest of the story.
Some of you reading this are afraid of how and when this pandemic story is going to end. Will your job still be there? Will you or someone you love get infected? Will your investments ever come back to where they were? Will life ever feel “normal” again?
Believe me, I get it. This is hard. But let me assure you, if God can resurrect a dead body, He can resurrect our economy, our circumstances, our careers, and our dreams. This is not the end of the story. This is only the beginning!
This is a story of salvation and grace that is to be continued in us. We are all given the beautiful opportunity to share the Good News of what happened on Easter. We can join the disciples by continuing to love others as Jesus loves us.
If you know someone who is huddled in fear during this shutdown, perhaps God is calling you to enter into their presence (virtually, of course, for now!) with the words of Jesus, peace be with you. Maybe God is giving you the opportunity to share the salvation story that can lead them to that peace that passes all understanding.
My friend, this year has not gone the way any of us could have ever imagined. But Jesus meets us behind closed doors, in the midst of the loneliness caused by social distancing, in the midst of our anxiety, with the beautiful words “Peace be with you.”
And then He invites us to share that peace with others because the story of His resurrection is to be continued in us!
Hugs and love,