Locked Doors

2021-04-11 – Year B – Easter 2 – The Rev. Canon Christopher Klukas
Isaiah 26:1-9, 19; Psalms 111; 1 John 5:1-5; John 20:19-31

  • To say that “no one locks their doors here” is a badge of honor for many communities. It is an expression of confidence in the safety of the neighborhood.
  • I once lived in such a community. When my parents first moved there, there was not even a lock on the door!
  • Today I always lock our doors before going to bed. I bet you do too. Why?
  • I don’t think there is anything wrong with locking the door to your house but is worthwhile to consider whether you are locking danger out or locking yourself in.
  • For Jesus’ disciples, it was a little of both.

Fear of the World

  • In the Gospel lesson today we find the disciples behind locked doors.
  • The events of this story take place in the evening on the same day that Jesus rose from the dead.
  • John 20:19 – the doors were locked for fear of the Jews
    • Why were they afraid of the jews. They were jews themselves!
    • Not the Jews, but the Jewish authorities. The ones who had pushed for Jesus to be crucified.
    • Was this a legitimate fear? Probably.
    • “Fear of world forces can often seize Christians who focus not on God’s power but on worldly might”
  • Jesus appears and greets them saying “Peace be with you.” (v. 19)
    • The disciples were probably feeling anything but peace, both because of the Jewish authorities, but also because their dead rabbi had just appeared in their locked room. How would you feel if you were in their place?
    • Luke 24:37 – When Jesus appeared, the disciples were “startled and frightened”
    • Notice that the way Jesus reassures them is by showing them his hands and side (v. 20). “Then [they] were glad when they saw the Lord.
  • The implications of Jesus’ resurrection here are remarkable.
    • If Jesus could be killed and then raised, could God do the same for them?
    • What would that do to their fear? Their locked door?

Fear of the Lord

  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
    • This is a different kind of fear than the disciples fear of the jewish authorities.
    • Terror and anxiety vs. awe, respect, and reverance.
    • God doesn’t want us to be terrified of him (like an unpredictable and cruel dictator), but he does want us to have awe and respect for him. Dogs.
    • “Aslan is not a tame lion” (C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia).
  • “81. What does Scripture mean when it tells you to fear God? It means that I should live mindful of his presence, walking in humility as his creature, resisting sin, obeying his commandments, and reverencing him for his holiness, majesty, and power” (ACNA Catechism, 46).
    • One of the implications of fearing God is that we should obey and follow him even when we are scared of what might happen.
    • Psalm 23:4 “the valley of the shadow of death” “I will fear no evil.”
    • God’s presence reassures us, just like it did for Jesus’ disciples.

Sent by the Lord

  • John 20:21 – “…even so I am sending you.
  • Jesus was about to send his disciples out, they were not going to be able to remain behind locked doors. They would have to trust God to lead them and protect them.
  • The enemy likes to control us through fear.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 – “…a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
  • John 20:26 – Eight days later the doors were still locked.
    • The disciples were not quick learners! We are often slow to learn too.
    • Our faith in God’s leading and protection grows over time. The more we experience God the more we trust him.

Conclusion

  • My high school youth group went on a mission trip to Mexico. As the leaders described the trip and what we would do, it sounded like an amazing opportunity. But I decided not to go. If I am honest, my main reason for not going was my fear of trying to raise money.
  • I could never…
  • If you choose not to follow God, I have no doubt he will still accomplish his will, but you will miss out on the blessing of co-laboring with him, of working in his kingdom.

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