I want us to imagine for a moment that we are not here. I don’t want you to imagine that you are on the lake or mountain. Instead I want us to imagine we are in the room that we just heard about in John. And each of us is one of those Disciples.
Imagine you are in a dark room. The room the disciples were in was dark. The sun was shining outside, but the doors and windows are shut tight. Today is the first day of the week, three days ago Jesus was crucified.
We were all watching as they hammered the nail into Jesus’ hands and feet. And only Lord knows what they will do to us his disciples. They may arrest and torment us. They may crucify us like what they did to Jesus.
We had seen Jesus die but the trouble he started was still going on. Some people just want to stir up trouble. First, they killed Jesus - now it seems that someone has stolen his body. On top of all this fear we are still trying to deal with the grief.
Poor Mary who saw Jesus was stolen this morning has been doing nothing but babbling about seeing him alive and thinking he was the gardener. Peter and John haven’t said a thing since they saw empty tomb.
The disciples were hiding in the upper room for fear of the Romans soldiers. Suddenly, they were not alone. Jesus appeared in the midst of them. They probably thought they were seeing ghost. And they began to wonder if this was Jesus’ ghost.
I believe they were probably more afraid now. Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. It was not his ghost. He was alive and he had blessed them! Then Jesus told them to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News.
But Thomas was not with them. He hadn’t been there to see Jesus. If I were Thomas I would have a hard time believing. The other disciples had not believed he was alive when Mary told them the story. Why should he believe that Jesus has risen without seeing?
Things have not changed that much since then. In some places in the world - Christians still hide from the authorities. Most of us can gather freely without fear of being killed. But we still live in a hostile world. A world that ridicules and mocks our values.
A world that disgraces us as we try to help those who are not worth helping. A world that crucifies us because we say that lifestyles are sinful and only Christ’s blood can atone for it. A world that ignores us when we say that life comes out of death.
So, many times we Christians cower in our churches and refuse to go out into the streets for fear that someone will ridicule us for what we are. Like the disciples, we close the doors and windows tight so no one find us.
But Jesus knows our fear just as he knew his disciples’ fear. Just as he was in the presence of them in that upper room, he is here with us. Now he says, “Peace be with you.” Do not fear the world outside for I am with you.
Friends, we are strengthened by Christ’s presence. It says that Jesus breathed on the disciples. The Greek word for spirit is pnewma and the Hebrew word is ruach. And they both also mean wind or breath.
In creation God breathed the breath of life into the first human. So, here Jesus is breathing the breath of new life into the disciples. And Jesus is breathing on us the breath of new life and enables us and empowers us.
Jesus is with us. We live in an intimidating and a hostile world. The people outside want to crucify us just like they did to Jesus. We are not alone. Jesus is present with all who believe. He is giving all of us new life.
The world outside will ridicule you if you try to live Christianity outside these walls. They will call you names. And they will reject you.
Christ sends us out into the world. To proclaim the good news of his resurrection. We do not go alone. We go with the power of the one through whom all things were created. With the strength of the one who was raised from the dead and lives forever. Shalom and Amen!
Scripture: John 20:19-31