This Easter season, our hearts are heavy for everyone. We know that these times are scary with the unknown and the change of everyday life being taken away from us. But in this season, we have also grown in our faith and realized that now more than ever, people need Jesus. A few nights ago, we FaceTimed each other to talk about a ‘God’ moment that we had both had, and it happened to be the exact same thing. We had just read through John 20:19-34. This is a very common Easter passage, but for some reason, this passage has been on our hearts all week because it is extremely relatable. In this blog post, we want to walk you through it and share our own thoughts. We pray that you find encouragement through this post and that it ultimately leads you to Jesus.
Before we read John 20:19-31, let’s set the scene in the book of John. Shortly beforehand, it was discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty. His disciples were in hiding and grieving the loss of Jesus. They were also fearful that people would claim they took Jesus’ body from the tomb.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”24 Now Thomas one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The first thing that stood out to us was the phrase that was repeated twice in this passage. “With the doors locked out of fear, Jesus came and stood with them and said, ‘Peace be with you’”. Although the doors were locked, Jesus was able to physically get through the doors and through the disciples’ fear. After Jesus entered the room, He said, “Peace be with you”. Jesus was telling the disciples that there is no reason to fear, for He was with them. At the same time, this was happening, Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, was separated from the rest of the men and did not believe that they had physically seen Jesus. Although he was once walking right alongside Jesus, we read that Thomas was questioning his faith. Jesus then came back to Thomas and entered through the locked doors and said, “Peace be with you”. Immediately, Thomas believed.
Have we sensed the relevance of this passage yet? Flash forward to today. We are all locked inside, for the most part, out of fear and for the safety of our health; yet, Jesus is near us and with us. He is still greater than our fears and still can get through our doors, especially the doors to our hearts. How many of us have doubts and question our own beliefs in God? Trust us, we have been there too. Every Christian at one point or another has doubts and struggles with the feeling of, “Where is God?”. We are here to tell you that Jesus is bigger than our doubts and He will always show up for us. We know this because we have the testimony of the disciples as our proof. No fear can keep Jesus away from us. No circumstance can keep His peace away from us. Jesus is showing up all around us right now in different ways. He shows us His goodness and who He is everyday through love, acts of kindness, community, worship, nature, His word, etc. Although the last few weeks have felt different and we may not be able to see the goodness that is coming with this pandemic, He is here with us now and He is with you today. He wants to hear your doubts and struggles, for He is a loving God that is bigger than every hardship. He will get you through it.
Another thing that stood out to us in the passage was the idea that the disciples were experiencing extreme feelings of fear, grief, trauma, change, and guilt after watching their dearest friend be arrested and executed. Today, many are facing the same emotions of grief, trauma, change, guilt, and fear, but for their health. Turn to Jesus. Trust that He is the King of Peace and is with you right now. Give Him your fears, for He understands. Jesus was human once too and experienced all of those emotions. Because of this, He feels for you and wants you to know how much He loves you. Trust that He is with you.
In Hebrews 10:23-25(TPT) it says, “So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises! Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.” How fitting is this passage for today? Right now more than ever, we need community. This is the time for compassion and love. We should form the habit of starting conversations about compassion and encouraging each other in love in this life.
Let today, Easter, be a celebration of new life, as it was designed to be. Let today be a day full of praise and joy and love, even though it looks different than years past. Our prayer for all of you is that in this season, you find Jesus, that you feel His presence and His peace. We pray that you know how loved and valued you are. He paid the ultimate price for our sins and resurrected to have victory over death. We pray that you hear this message and it speaks to your heart, no matter the place you are in this life right now. We pray that during this time, you find community and grow in life together. (If you are struggling with finding community right now, please reach out to us. We would love to be in community with you!). Lastly, we pray during this time you are able to reach out to individuals you may have lost touch with, grow deeper in relationships with your friends or family, and do something for yourself to grow spiritually. Make sure to take care of yourself, physically and mentally, and look to Jesus because He is near and dear and He loves you.
Meg & Liv