Fear hangs heavy in the air. The authorities have brutally executed the disciples’ leader. Clearly the authorities intend to squelch this burgeoning threat. How far will they go with this crusade? With the leader removed, will they search for the key followers in order to nail the coffin shut? In fear, the disciples hide behind locked doors.
The disciples have put their confidence in locks; their security hinges on latches and bolts. But even locked doors do little to calm their anxiety. What if their hiding place is discovered; what if there is another way in; what if the lock doesn’t hold?
They feel anxious and fearful. Then Jesus appears, undeterred by any hindrance. The lock not only indicates the disciples’ fear but sets up Jesus’ miraculous arrival. The lock makes Jesus’ sudden appearance that much more amazing; locks are no match for him! Jesus turns a locked door into an opening for the joy of his presence.
Jesus conveys a message—a message twice uttered, “Peace be with you.” The locks, which bring a measure of security, prove inadequate to subdue the disciples’ fears. But where locks fail, Jesus succeeds. He offers his peace to overcome their fears. The disciples can find their security in him. As fear dissipates, joy replaces sorrow.
Jesus makes this same offer of peace to us. We may employ all manner of earthbound solutions to quell our fears, but all will prove inadequate. With doors tightly locked, fear can still overwhelm us. Locks cannot ease the barrage of “what ifs.” But Jesus can bring peace and ease our anxieties. The resurrected Lord has defeated death; surely he can defeat the sources of our fears!
Lord, I invite you to bring peace to calm my fears. Amen.