Shut door? No problem for God.

Taken from a Red Rock News Religion Column (4/5/24)
Rev. Dona Johnson | April 7, 2024

          Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first  evening of Easter Day. After Jesus’ resurrection, we are told the disciples locked themselves in the  upper room, the same room where Jesus had  shared the last supper with them only days  earlier. Knowing the intense bitterness of the  Jews, the disciples feared for their lives. And as  we all know, fear if left unchecked can be  paralyzing. Suddenly though without a knock or  forewarning Jesus appears. Stunned by what they  saw, the door still locked behind them, they  thought the figure was a ghost. At this point the  disciples were not crediting any of what they saw  as a resurrection. Resurrection was unheard of,  not an option to consider. So, Jesus reassured them by showing them the nail marks in his hands  and feet. Their hearts were pieced with the  inconceivable reality that it was Jesus that they  saw.   

          Jesus continued to reassure them with  these words, “Peace be with you.” His greeting  meant far more than the absence of conflict or  trouble. The peace he offered them is not the  fleeting peace of the world. No, it is a peace not  dependent on external circumstances. This peace  is a spiritual peace that only Christ can give. And if  you have ever been blessed to feel and sense this  peace in your life—you certainly know it is a  peace like no other peace you’ve ever  experienced. It is a Christ-given serenity—a deep  knowing that whatever trouble you may face in this life—God is with you in the thick of it. 

Without any further conversation, Jesus commissions them, “As the Father has sent me, I  am sending you.” Jesus equips them with  everything they will need. He breathes on them  and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Amazingly,  Jesus’ breath is the same breath God breathes  into the nostrils of man—and God breathes his  Spirit into humanity (Gen. 2:7). In effect, as Jesus  breathes on his disciples, equips them with the  Holy Spirit, they too become a new creation, life  from death. They are to go into the world to  proclaim a ministry of repentance and  forgiveness. And what we know now that the disciples didn’t know then is that the disciples  were in for a headwind of resistance. They were  eventually martyred for keeping alive the Good  News—the risen Lord Jesus Christ.    

          If sin and death could not hold Jesus in the  grave, then moving through a shut door is a piece  of cake. God does not stop for a shut door. His  reach and his power extend far beyond our  comprehension and our capacity. God’s love can  penetrate anything that appears to us to be  stubbornly strong and resistant. God’s love can  pierce the most hardened of human hearts. 

          In our lifetime doors will open and doors  will close, that’s a given. And it’s so easy to stay  fixated on our losses—what could have been.  Often when a door shuts and we are left in the  wake of a lost opportunity, or we are disheartened by dreams unfulfilled, or we feel  disparaged by the injustices we see in the world,  or we feel as if all our options have run their  course and then you wonder why it seems like  good people always finish last, don’t throw in the  towel, not yet. It’s not over. To many, a shut door  means failure. But if you turn your focus away  from the closed door and look in the other  direction, you will see a variety of open doors  before you—possibilities you never dreamed of  or imagined. So take heart, God does not stop for  a closed door. We who believe live in the promise  and power of the risen Lord—Jesus. 

Prayer: May each of continue to risk and welcome

new opportunities in our lives—for we live in the

resurrection power of the risen Jesus! Amen.