“On the evening of that first day…” : Fear!

John 20:19

Easter season looks at the reports of the risen Christ and what it means to us today.  John, Luke, and a later addition to Mark report on the evening of that first Easter day.  Early that morning some women followers had gone went to the tomb and found it empty and reported to the disciples.  Peter and one other ran to the tomb and confirmed that the tomb was empty but understanding was slow in coming.  The two people on the road to Emmaus in the afternoon encountered the risen Christ and rushed back to Jerusalem to report.  The apostles and other followers were huddled behind locked doors, “for fear of the Jewish leaders.”  Matthew reports the guards had been paid off to tell the story that the disciples had stolen the body.  The meaning of “resurrection” was not obvious nor it’s implications. Even we struggle to fully grasp the meaning today.

         In the midst of all that was swirling around, the followers huddle confused and fearful.  We were in Kenya during the first elections in a transition to democracy and we huddled behind closed doors.  Tribal unrest broke out, people were killed, homes burned and everyone was scared.  We were in Minneapolis when a tornado swept through and took out six miles of houses in six seconds just three blocks from our house.  Police were on bicycles and horseback for there was no electricity and 1000 fallen trees and torn up sidewalks.  People in Ukraine huddle behind locked doors for fear of bombs.  We do not have to stretch our imaginations to know how those followers were feeling.

         Jesus appears in that room and says, “Peace.”

         Today we hear the reports of Covid, we see the prices at gas stations and markets climb, and we listen to reports of all the political fighting in our country and around the world.  It is in times like then and now that Jesus appears and offers peace.  Termination of turmoil will not happen tomorrow and it is in these times of fear that we turn even more intensely to our faith.  “Jesus came and stood among them.”  Jesus is among us.  We are not alone.  We can prepare ourselves as best we can but often the struggle is bigger than we can control.  It is at those times we look to a risen savior who is with us.  He is not stopped by locked doors!  He breathes into our fear and confusion peace.  Let us take a moment this morning to turn our eyes off the factors that scare us and onto the God who travels with us.  Think of five words to modify “thank you” and five words that describe “peace” and as you breath in deeply his peace, exhale the fear that would defeat you.  Blessings.

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