Posted on May 24, 2017 by John Holt
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:19-23 (NRSV)
I can’t imagine the fear and anxiety the disciples were experiencing following the crucifixion of their leader, teacher, and friend. My assumption is that everyone was on edge as a significant change was happening around them. What are we called to do now? Do we have to change? How do we share God’s love with everyone? Then Jesus shows up and says, “Peace be with you.” God doesn’t send an angel or a shepherd, no burning bush or star in the sky. Jesus shows up in person to share some much needed peace, encouragement, and direction.
During our Salem staff bible study this week Pastor Dave shared that another greek translation for the word door is opportunity. I have continued to process this idea that a locked door doesn’t need to be a barrier but rather an opportunity to grow and evolve. How many times in our lives do we lock the door because we don't want to change or even entertain something new? What kind of barriers to we place around ourselves to protect us from getting hurt? Much of the time I think of a locked door as a barrier keeping me from getting in from the outside. The John 20 scripture has challenged me to think about the doors I lock from the inside so I don't have to encounter what might be different or challenging on the outside. It pushes me to think about the opportunities I pass up because of my fear of the unknown.
Jesus calls us to move beyond the locked doors and walks beside us as we journey into unknown opportunity. He is present in the midst of our fear and encourages us to be present in relationship and community.
As Salem dreams big dreams we must also lean in and be present with one another to make those dreams a reality!
Peace- John Holt
Director of Youth and Family Ministries