Following the trial and public execution of Jesus Christ, the disciples were afraid. If they did that to their leader, what would happen to them? Before the followers knew of Jesus’ resurrection they were traumatized.
John 20: (The Message)
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." Then he showed them his hands and side.
When a community or family is afraid, it is common to hide in the shadows. We seek the security of locked doors.
Fear locks doors. Fear shuts you in. Fight and flight are not the only responses to fear. Sometimes fear immobilizes.
What is the follower of Jesus to do with fear? Some would say that your fear is the opposite of faith. If you had more faith you could face your fears. That’s easy to say until you are immobilized by it.
We find Jesus’ closest friends sneaking around worried about the Jewish leaders. Rumours were circulating about Jesus being alive again. What kind of sick, twisted story was that? They watched him die.
But some truth is stranger than rumour. Jesus was alive.
Jesus came into their room. Locked doors did not stop him. Curtained windows and thick walls did not prevent his entry. He came into the midst of their trauma and showed himself.
Did he wait for them to come find him? Did he act hurt because they lacked faith? Did he belittle them for being afraid? He greets them in customary fashion.
‘Peace to you’ was a normal greeting in the culture of Jesus’ day. Implicit in the greeting was the idea of God’s peace ‘shalom’. It is an expression that desires that the ones greeted would experience the blessings of God.
His hands extended to reveal the wounds. He pulled back his gown and showed where the spear had entered his side. It put a spin on his greeting. ‘Peace to you… After what I have suffered, I come to give peace to you. Suffering has not caused me to abandon you. I was dead, but now look at me. Peace to you.’