Today I came across an idea I had written about three years ago for a sermon on the same bit of Scripture as this coming Sunday’s. Here’s the thought – stick with it to the end.
John 20:19-31 describes a group of frightened men locked away in an upper room on the first easter evening. They’re afraid that they will meet with the same fate as Jesus did three days earlier. Will the authorities start rounding up his followers? Will the authorities find out that they were indeed his disciples?
Suddenly, though the doors are locked, Jesus appears among them. He shows them his hands and feet and says “peace be with you” – their faith in him is renewed.
How did Jesus suddenly appear among them? I guess Jesus’ resurrected body must be able to just disappear and reappear and pass through walls. That’s pretty awesome, but it’s not the point (at least not the point today). The point is that Jesus wanted to be in that room with his fearful followers. He chose to come to them. I imagine that if Jesus wasn’t able pass through walls, he would have found some way into that room – he would have broke in if he’d had to.
I think Jesus is like that with us. Ever been afraid? Ever been discouraged? Ever been full of doubt? Beaten by life? Jesus wants to break in and say “peace” to you.
Another way of thinking about this…
You may have seen this scene in an old movie or something. A man and woman are dancing and there is this other man on the sideline, watching. The man on the side knows in his heart that he is supposed to be the one dancing with the woman. She is so beautiful to him – he just knows they are meant for each other. She is dancing with the wrong partner. He walks up to the couple and says “may I cut in?”
That’s what Jesus does. He sees you for who you truly are – you are beautiful to him. He doesn’t judge you – he just despairs that you are dancing with the wrong partner. You’re dancing with fear, with greed, with ambition, with doubt. But Jesus knows you are meant to dance with him. Fortunately, Jesus is even more persistent than the romantic lead in the old movie.
He interrupts your dance and says “may I cut in?”
Then, it’s your move.
Incidentally, the disciples were still hiding in the same room a week later. You know what Jesus did? He showed up again.
“May I cut in?” “Peace be with you” were the first words out of his mouth.