It would be easier to follow our Lamb who has conquered if we could see Him and hear Him wouldn’t it? But then we wouldn’t be walking by faith, would we? “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7). His first disciples didn’t have trouble seeing Him. They were with Jesus 24/7, yet they still didn’t understand what a radical thing they were doing, following Jesus. James and John were still asking for the seats of honor when Jesus comes into His kingdom. The last night he was with them, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, and the other ten fled as Jesus was arrested, tortured, crucified, and his corpse put in a tomb. It was a borrowed tomb - only needed for the weekend - but of course they didn’t know that yet!
The account in John 20:19-20 has an informative small detail: the grief stricken disciples and women spent their time huddled behind locked doors for fear that what the authorities did to Jesus, they would do to them, too. Immense grief must have overwhelmed them, but immense fear must have paralyzed them, for even after Mary Magdalene went to the tomb before dawn on Sunday, and she saw the risen Lord, they hid in fear all day. Though Jesus’s resurrection had occurred, still they were frozen with fear. Only Mary Magdalene talked with Jesus. It was fear that kept them from believing her story. It was fear that kept them huddled instead of celebrating. It was fear of what had happened and what could happen that chained them to despair. It was an intense fear that kept them locked up and locked away from resting in peace and celebrating in joy. It was fear that kept them from seeing the bigger picture of God’s wonder, and God’s wonderful freeing of these frozen chosen.
For when The Holy Spirit came, they became the most bold, fearless proclaimers of the greatest best news that has ever heard: Lord is Risen! But it wasn’t until Sunday evening, when the doors were still locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came to these fearful ones, whose hearts were troubled, and said, “Peace be with you!” And they saw Jesus, they heard His voice and dissolved their fear!
How are you hindered by a common fear in our world right now, the COVID- 19 virus? It deserves some honest, helpful respect, offset by lots of handwashing, physical distance from one another, and staying home as much as possible. Here is a suggestion I offer to help you face your fears and find some freedom from your fears, and hear Jesus come to where you are locked up and say, “Peace be with you.” Make these scriptures a daily devotional on fear for 31 days. Along with prayer, you might be surprised to find your fears giving way to faith. Read a passage each morning, and then mid-day, and then the evening before sleep. Read slowly, read with prayer, pondering what God is saying to you through it. Bring your struggles to God. Write the scripture down and underline the words or phrases that speak to you. And check each one off as you go, and yes, you will be finding new joy in following our Victorious Lamb!
Blessed adventures, facing your fears, and finding Easter joy! Pastor Dean
___Deuteronomy 31:6 ___Joshua 1:9 ___Psalm 3 ___Psalm 56 ___Proverbs 3:25-26 ___Isaiah 12 ___Isaiah 47:8-10
___Matthew 8:23-27 ___Matthew 10:26-33 ___Matthew 14:22-33 ___Matthew 28:1-10 ___Luke 1:26-38 ___Luke 2:8-10
___Luke 5:1-11 ___Luke 12:4-7 ___Luke 12:22-34 ___John 6:16-21 ___John 14:27 ___Romans 8:14-17
___Romans 8:28 __ Romans 8:35-39 ___Philippians4:4-7 ___Philippians 4:8-9 ___Colossians 3:12-17 ___John 4:16-21
___Psalm 23 ___Psalm 55:1-5 and 16-19 ___ Proverbs 29:25 ___Isaiah 41:1-10 ___Isaiah 43:1-3a ___Revelation 21:3-4