Behind Locked Doors, Christ Shows Up

Doors of the small rural church I served were always unlocked. With a pastor living in the parsonage only steps away, church leaders didn’t feel a need to lock their church doors. I treasured the fact that our doors were open for anyone who needed a place of refuge, of peace, or of prayer.

On Easter evening, Jesus’ disciples hid behind locked doors, fearful the same people who crucified Jesus, would come for them.  Their plans and expectations interrupted by the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they sought a secure place to meet. Confused and bewildered by stories of resurrection, wanting to believe, but not daring to, they gathered trying to make sense of it all.

We have only snippets of the conversation which took place behind those locked doors. One can surmise competing stories. Some pointing to sightings of Jesus and an empty tomb. While others spoke of the hard reality of death, undermining any words of optimism and hope. Into that place of uncertainty and fear, behind locked doors, Jesus came to quiet his friends troubled hearts. Announcing, “Peace be with you.”

*Will Willimon writes, “The risen Christ shows up, transforming our painful sense of absence by his presence. In steadfast love God refuses to leave us. Christ shows up and appears to the very ones ( his own disciples) who betrayed and disappointed him. We don’t have to go looking for Jesus; he’s looking for us. We don’t have to search and find him . . . he finds us.”

Behind our locked doors of fear, anxiety and uncertainty, Jesus continues to offer that word of peace. A peace, not dependent upon our circumstances, but one meeting us where we are. Then taking us through our confusion, uncertainty and fear, assuring us we are held by an everlasting love. No doors are so large or locks so strong, they can keep us from the presence, peace and love of Jesus.

“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the religious authorities, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” John 20:19-20

* The Upper Room Disciplines 2013, page 115

Other Resources for Lent through Easter can be found at this link.

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