“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.” John 20:19-22
In this passage we find the disciples in a place that we have all been: locked in and gripped by fear. Just days before, the man they had been following for years was arrested, convicted, and crucified. He had called them from simple lives to follow him into an abundant life. They had been witnesses to miracle after miracle. They watched as He fed thousands, healed the sick, and challenged the church authority of the day. He had even called one of them to walk on water! They had hoped that this man would be a victorious conqueror, overthrowing their oppressors and leading them to freedom. But then things didn’t go as they had planned… They were with Jesus as the army arrested Him. They pulled out their swords to defend Him. They were confused when their King told them to put their swords away. What was going on here?
And this is where the fear and doubt began to creep in. As Jesus was brought before the authorities, they watched the crowd turn against Him. The man before them was in chains and there was no army outside the city to free Him. As the trial continues, it becomes clear that if they are going to continue to follow this man, they would be following him to a conviction and death. Maybe this man was not the Son of God?
They listened to the insults that were hurled at Him. Days before, the crowds had welcomed Him; now they laughed and jeered as He stumbles and falls while carrying a piece of wood that will be used in His death. They watched as the one who promised them abundant life breathed His last breath, hung his head and died. It had been three days and all hope was lost. How could life come from a Man who was now dead?
I woke up last week and immediately pulled the covers over my head. I did not want to get out of bed and deal with my tasks for the day. Fear and doubt had crept in. What was I supposed to do with my day? Was I skilled enough to accomplish the tasks set before me? What about that poor interaction I had the day before with a friend? Are they still mad? Is everything going to fall into place or is it all falling apart?
In the midst of all of these fears and doubts, under my blanket, with my heart locked to the world, I was reminded that Christ is still present. I was reminded that I hadn’t been called to lock myself away and hide under the blankets. There were people coming to get cabins ready for campers, and I knew they were going to want coffee. So begrudgingly I poked my head out, got dressed, and dragged my feet up the hill to Voyageur Lodge.
Oh, what Peace I found there! A lake that was as clear as glass! Trees that I had watched be planted as saplings that were now taller than me! A dining hall that will soon be filled to overflowing with the excitement of campers! Volunteers willing to spend their time scrubbing floors so that our guests have a clean place to rest! Friends of many years sharing updates of their careers, pictures of their families, and plans for weddings! There is so much Peace in the abundant life of Christ!
“30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe [d] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
Brian Heuer, VLM Summer Staff Member 2007, 2009-2011, 2013, 2017-2019