By: Rev. Chris Troxel, Associate Pastor of Christian Growth
Read John 20:19-31.
Jesus shows up - just appears out of nowhere! Fear and doubt are still plaguing the disciples, until The Word speaks: Jesus delivers peace to address their fear, a mission to focus their hearts and hands, and gift to bring to the world: forgiveness. Are you fearful of what may happen when you talk about Jesus? Do you doubt part of the story?
Knowing our fears - and their answer in Jesus - is only the beginning. Knowing we are heirs of faith through Jesus, is not the same as owning our place in the family of God. The author of Proverbs 1 lets us know that the “fear of Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Knowing is just the beginning. Jesus empowers and sends his disciples to be witnesses. Jesus moves and inspires them to own His gospel and show to “Jerusalem, Judea, and the ends of the earth.”
In an instant, in a phrase repeated, Jesus compels these freaked-out doubters and frail followers to be bold, courageous witnesses. When the author of Creation speaks, things happen. He says, “peace” and there actually is peace where there used to be fear. So why do we fail to own and show this peace of Jesus? We know our fear, and we know there is peace, mission, and grace in Jesus. Yet our faltering does not just come from our enemy, it comes from our sinful selves. We know, own, and show the contours of our fear. Like toddlers in diapers, uncertain and afraid of what it means to be clean, we fight for our mess, instead of trusting our Voice, our Savior, our Creator.
Then we experience what the disciples did: Jesus speaking peace again. Daily we hear, read, and receive Jesus speaking “peace,” “I forgive you,” “You are mine,” “I will be with you” over and over. Jesus’ Word addresses our fear, overcomes our failures, enables us to believe. To believe, to trust, to risk that this whole “following Jesus thing” is real, and that someone actually needs to hear about Jesus from you and me. Another pastor puts it this way: “...go out, look another human being in the eye, have a conversation, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit, trusting in Gospel itself, that there is power in the Word of God. It will take a miracle for anyone to believe; go out in faith. Go out in courage.” And so the disciples went out in faith and courage to Jerusalem, and God moved them on from there.
Where is Jesus sending you today?