Night has fallen in Jerusalem. Hours before, the tomb was found empty and Jesus’ body gone. As Mary Magdalene is left in grief that not only has Jesus been killed, but now his grave disrespected and a proper burial impossible, Jesus appears to her in full splendor.
In her joy she runs to tell the disciples…yet as the sun sets…
It was still the first day of the week. That evening…the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. John 20:19a, CEB
It doesn’t say the doors were locked, but we imagine them locked, and even fortified. We imagine the disciples in hiding, afraid. We imagine them talking among themselves, wondering what to do, going over plans to escape Jerusalem, plans of how to get back to their life before Jesus…before they followed him. We imagine them thinking of the final moments in the garden, of not standing up to the guards. We imagine them wondering about how they could have stopped this, how they deserted Him….and how they can avoid the same fate.
They have locked the doors. They do not know what to do next. They wonder if Jesus will come back to them, but how could He? How could He after He was beaten, nailed, speared and died? He was dead. A story about a vision, but his body gone. Everything defies expectation. What are they to believe?
And now they were in a room. They were looking at their life, what it had been, what they thought it would be like. They were trying to figure it out, but no matter what they thought or how they rationalized….Jesus wasn’t there…and they were afraid. And in their fear, they hid in a room and locked the door.
Are you in a locked room? Are you hiding? Are you trying to figure out how you got where you are, how to escape, what to do next?
That locked door can easily be the facade you are putting up for others to see. That locked door could be your denial of seeing things for what they really are, for if we lock something out, it no longer exists.
You want to deny and hide. You want to keep imaging you have things under control, that it isn’t that bad, that you can manage, that you can keep going…
…but you can’t. You’re in hiding.
Until you can come out from behind that door, until you can deal with what you are afraid of, you life is on hold.
We see the disciples in the room, some pacing, some sitting, some with heads in their hands. They are fearful and doubting and planning and regretting…Jesus comes and stands among them.
“Peace be with you.” John 20:19b, CEB
We imagine his arms outstretched, a faint gleam of white light radiating out from his body, and a loving smile on his lips and in his eyes.
He shows them who He is. He shows them that what they saw just days before, did indeed happen.
Once again their world spins.
What they thought was going to happen didn’t, and then as they were grieved and afraid, they are again faced with a new reality, The Reality.
Christ found them where they were in the midst of their fear and doubt, of their planning and shame, hidden away behind the locked door.
And with Christ’s presence, their fears vanish and they are filled with new life.
“Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:21, CEB
Instead of planning a secret escape in fear, Christ is showing them another way out…a way out in full dignity and celebration.
The locked door has been smashed open wide. The new order has been created. The former captives, are now in charge.
And that is where Christ meets you. Christ meets you behind that locked door. Meets you in the midst of whatever you are denying, whatever is making you fearful, whatever is holding your life hostage.
Christ is there to set you free…to help you through whatever is preventing you from living the life God has prepared for you. No matter how horrible it is…Christ is there to bring you peace and show you another way.
Gracious God, help us to see You standing right in front of us, so that we may turn our fear into joy, and walk out of the locked room and into the light. Amen.
(Note: This is the basics of the message I shared at the Sunday services on 4/27/14 at Auburn Homes in Waconia and Chaska. A slight revision from the first posting.)
See this link for a similar post on Draughting Theology.