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!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
— JOHN 20:19–20
As my wife and I enter into the early stage of an upcoming new season, we are in a process of pondering our heart’s disposition for what could lie ahead. Musing on John 20:19–23 brings a confidence and hopefulness for the changing seasons of our lives and vocation.
A new season? The frightened disciples were behind locked doors after the close of a heart- wrenching week where hope had risen and fallen to extremes. They realized things would never be the same; the intimate times of teaching and awe-inspiring miracles with Jesus were in the past. As enjoyable as it is watching the seasons fade, entering and exiting seasons of life present questions and fears.
Lord, could it just remain the same longer, not change? Is there a locked door which I would rather hide behind?
A new Jesus? Jesus made his way in through the locked doors, reminding us and his disciples that he is present, real and himself in the midst of uncertainties. In their joy of witnessing his return, they must have thought things would continue as they were before, but Jesus showed them that he would not be the same. So often I am caught in my classical restricted view of Jesus. I don’t mind the occasional mind-stretching Jesus, but usually, I determine the boundaries.
Lord, am I willing to let go of my pre-fixed understanding of you and allow myself to experience you in new and fresh ways?
A new mission? Peacefully walking in the midst of their fears, Jesus breathes on them: “… As the Father sent me, I am sending you (John 20:21).” Every aspect of this account asks for a courageous step of sacrificial faith. With faith we move to another season, experiencing a renewed understanding of Jesus to receive a new and challenging mandate with a fresh Spirit encounter.
What is in store Lord? How much do we want to be open to all that you have? Spirit of the Living Jesus fall fresh on me.
FURTHER SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: JOHN 20:19–23
1. Are there any locked doors that I are hiding behind instead of breathing in the freshness of the Holy Spirit?
2. Does my view of Jesus change with each new season of my life? Do I trust him to take care of the small details as my life develops into further stages?
Francis Pearson is the District Superintendent of the St. Lawrence District, located in Montreal, QC