After the arrest of Jesus and later His execution, we know that the disciples were afraid.
John 20:19 tells us that on the evening of the first day, they were together ‘with the doors locked.’ It must have been a very distressing time. Their best friend and Saviour had been publicly executed, and they must have been very shocked by all they had witnessed. In fear for his life, Peter had denied knowing Jesus, and now they were all hiding behind locked doors.
This picture hidden away in a room is an illustration to me of what the enemy tries to do in our lives. I believe fear is the greatest weapon of the enemy – fear literally paralyses us and stops us from moving forward.
It might be the fear of ill health, of losing your job, of what others think. It does not matter; it all has the same outcome – it holds us back from all that God wants us to do. It was the same for the disciples. Just a few days before, they had been enjoying a Passover meal with Jesus, and then they were in hiding, trying to preserve their lives. They were unable to move forward.
The amazing part of this story to me is that when Jesus appeared to them, He asked them ‘Why are you frightened?’ Luke 24:36 says Jesus asked them: ‘Why do you doubt that it is really I? Look at my hands! Look at my feet! You can see that it is I, myself! Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost! For ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!’ As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see the marks of the nails and showed them the wounds in his feet.
Luke 24:41 says ‘Still they stood there undecided, filled with joy and doubt.’
Even when Jesus appeared to them in power and wonder, after being so brutally killed, they were still not sure whether they could believe their eyes!
The journey of faith is not always an easy one, and sometimes even when we know and experience Jesus in the middle of the situations we face, we wonder if He really will save us. This story speaks to us of the heart and mercy of Jesus. He appeared to the disciples in the middle of all their doubt and confusion, and then he ate a meal with them. As they listened to all that he said, the Word of God tells us that they ‘opened their minds to understand at last the Scriptures.’
I believe that faith is a journey. We do not always feel full of faith, but we can make a decision to trust in all that God has said to us. Faith is not the absence of fear; it is the mastering of fear.
For me, the story of Easter speaks to us of hope, of life, and of Jesus meeting us in the middle of our confusion and reminding us that we have nothing to fear.