June 25 - Peace

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25 – Peace

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!”

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19-23)

Notice what is happening in the first sentence of this passage.  The disciples are behind locked doors because they are afraid of the Jewish leaders.  When Jesus stands among them, He offers peace.

How would they ever spread the Good News of His resurrection if they remained behind locked doors?  How would they have the courage to leave Jerusalem if they were afraid?  How would they become the foundation of His church?

We lock ourselves behind the doors of our churches because we are afraid to move out into the world and tell people about Jesus.  We package His message up all neat and tidy and then wait for the world to show up.  If they’re lucky, we’ll let them become part of the small, core group of the church society we’ve created.  If they know how to play the game of fear like we do, they’ll be invited in.  But, if they’re troublemakers or challenge our fears, we are just as happy to see them go.  We close the doors tightly and wait for the next courageous soul to enter.

We’re afraid of the world.  We’re afraid that someone might ask questions we don’t have a ready answer for, we’re afraid that there are those out there who might recognize us for who we truly are, we’re afraid to tell the world what it really means to know Jesus, because they will expect us to live that way.

Jesus brings the one thing that wipes all of that fear away.  Peace.  A peace like we’ve never known. 

That peace gives us the courage to move beyond the doors of our church, into the world and among people who don’t know how perfect we are inside that church.  Jesus sends us into the world to tell His story – but first, He brings us peace to allay our fears.