Chapter 20 tells the exciting story of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Think about that for a moment: He rose from the dead. Wow!
Yet I’m struck by a verse in this chapter that is not so exciting or positive. It speaks to me because it speaks to the mentality of many Christians today. It is verse 19.
“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…”
This was the evening following Jesus’ resurrection. Instead of shouting it from the roof tops, they were hiding behind locked doors – in fear.
Lest we be too hard on these disciples, can we not see ourselves in them? As our culture becomes increasingly hostile to all things Christian, we are tempted to retreat and hide. We are often intimidated into silence. We choose a strategy of living within the walls of our churches and Christian organizations instead of being “salt” and “light” in a tasteless and dark world.
In verse 21 Jesus told these same disciples hiding in a room that He was sending them into the world just as the Father had sent Him from heaven into their sinful world. Jesus does not bless us when we hide. He empowered them with the Holy Spirit (verse 22) so they could be His instruments of salvation in a lost and dying world. He does the same with us.
The power of the resurrection is not active in our lives when we hide. The peace of Jesus is not ours when we ignore our mission and remain silent instead of speaking the gospel.
To celebrate the resurrection of Jesus without doing the work of an evangelist is a hollow celebration.
Pastor Steve Hogg