April 27, 2023
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” John 20:19
My father entered into eternal life on April 4, 2010. My wife and I cared for him for two years in California because my family in Montana were not able to do so.
He suffered dementia and neurological deterioration. We had a wonderful pattern for those two years. He didn’t know where he was or who I was but the three of us got along just fine.
His first “passing” was March 27th. He slumped over as I was talking to him. I called, grabbed his wrist, and felt the pulse slowly weakening. I looked up to my mother who was visiting and said, “He is gone.” Needless to say, we were taken back.
I say his first passing because the paramedics revived his breathing after I asked them not to. Dad lived for another 7 days but his brain was damaged. He died on Easter.
I presided at his funeral and asked our family and friends to imagine coming to the church for the service and witnessing the morticians frantically looking for the body.
The casket is empty? Oh oops! Where is he? He was in the casket the last time we looked, but now?
Then imagine his youngest great-granddaughter Chloe running into the church and proclaiming that she saw Grandpa! He really isn’t dead! She has the biggest smile on her face. Oh, happy day!
What do we do? How would we react? Crazy right? Dead men don’t rise. At least they are not supposed to!
Would we want to run and see if he was still there or would we be like the poor disciples gathered at the house with the doors closed trying to figure out this death.
For the disciples, the death of Jesus was a problem. He was special. He was their leader. They sacrificed all to follow him for three years.
They witnessed all sorts of crazy things, like turning water into wine (John 2:11) or the resurrection of the friend Lazarus (John 11). Even more importantly, if they killed Jesus, are we next?
They were afraid, really afraid. They locked themselves in a room and waited. For what?
Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ v. 19c.
They believed because they had to, they saw him! “We have seen the Lord.” they proclaimed to Thomas. You see, he wasn’t there. Thomas responded, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” John 20: 25
It would not be easy believing Chloe. We just don’t experience the resurrection that way. But that is exactly the way it happened with Jesus. Who will we believe? If we do, what does that mean for us?