On this Easter Monday, we pray together, asking that the Lord would make us, as women, more like the risen Savior—willing to walk with him wherever He takes us. We pray that the Lord would raise up victorious men, who are empowered to lead in the church and in relationships. And, we pray that God would give the gift of marriage to those who desire it.
I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have been alive and on the scene on the original Easter Sunday morning. I’ve got a pretty good imagination, but I can’t quite take off my 20-20 hindsight glasses. We have the advantage of reading the story of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection in a few short chapters in the Gospels, seamlessly flowing without commercial breaks for the cliffhangers.
Although I intellectually understand that the disciples must have been devastated and terrified after Jesus’ death, I rarely take the time to pause the story and marinate in that despair. Their prayers for a political savior/messiah were dashed. Their friend was dead. They had all left their jobs to follow this guy, and it blow up in their faces.
The irony is that even though I like to “skip to the good part” mentally when it comes to the Passion story, I am very good at stewing over how God hasn’t answered my prayers. (And, I’m especially good at fretting about my lack of a spouse.) So, while I look askance at the disciples for not taking Jesus at His word, I have no problem doubting the Lord’s promises for me.
Granted, Jesus told the disciples multiple times that He would die and come back to life. And, Jesus hasn’t promised emphatically that I will get married. But, He has made other explicit promises that I still doubt.
When I go into full-on skeptical, cynic mode, I want to hide, and apparently, so did the disciples. After seeing the empty tomb, they went home and locked the door.
How did Jesus react to the disciples’ doubt? How does Jesus react to my doubt?
From John 20:
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
John Piper points out a few things about Jesus’ reaction that I thought were poignant.
The doors were locked, but Jesus came in anyway. There is no part of your life and heart that Jesus can’t enter and redeem.
Jesus can go where no one else can go. He can go where no counselor can go. He can go where no doctor can go. He can go where no lover can go. He can reach you, and reach into you, anywhere and any time. There is no place where you are, and no depths of personhood that you are which Jesus can’t penetrate. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead fits him to do what no one else can do. There is no one else like him in all the universe. He is alive, and he is the one and only God-Man. What he is capable of you cannot imagine. And it is a healing wonder to contemplate that all the complex layers of your life, which neither you nor anyone else can understand, are familiar territory to him.
The disciples were afraid, but Jesus didn’t wait. Jesus meets you in your fear and works in your heart now.
And what Jesus is saying in this action is: I come to my own when they are afraid. I don’t wait for them to get their act together. I don’t wait for them to have enough faith to overcome fear. I come to help them have enough faith to overcome fear.
The disciples were alone, but then, Jesus stood in their midst. Jesus is with you in the middle of your joy and your heartache.
He came right into the middle of their meeting. He did not come to the edge and call out through the wall and deal with them as a distant deity. He wasn’t playing games with them. He wasn’t toying with their faith. He wanted them to see him and know him and believe in him and love him… [Jesus] has come to you — close to you, not calling to you from a distance, but coming right into your midst.
We can’t know exactly how the Lord will answer our Monday prayers for marriages, but we can know that Jesus is going to into every locked door of our heart and every fear of being alone and unloved—filling us with all the power of the resurrection.