On Thursday the Government announced that the current lockdown provisions would continue for at least another 3 weeks. I trust and pray that everyone is ‘coping’ with the lockdown – do keep calling each other – and you can always call me.
How significant that following Jesus’ death and resurrection the disciples were ‘in lockdown’. We read in John 20 that on the evening of Easter Day itself “the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews” (v19). One week later – effectively the equivalent of today – the disciples are again behind locked doors (v26). This time, no reason is given – no reference to any fear is made. We mustn’t overly build on Scripture’s silence, but let us notice wonderful aspects of Jesus’ provision for His disciples – and surely for us also – as He comes to them through their locked doors, including:
- Peace – on both occasions Jesus’ first words are “Peace be with you!”, the Hebrew greeting ‘Shalom’. You will know that this implies far more than the mere absence of stress and essentially means well-being in its fullest sense. God’s desire is that we may all experience His Shalom in our lockdowns.
- Provision – in v22 Jesus breathes on the disciples and says “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Whatever this means prior to Pentecost, it surely speaks of our vital need of the presence of the Holy Spirit, especially now. May we constantly pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit – refer to Luke 11v13 and Ephesians 5v18.
- Purpose – in v21 Jesus commissions the disciples to be sent out as His messengers. Let us hear the Lord’s voice that we might also be sent out on His mission (not ours) – both now and in the future.
Notice also that on both occasions Jesus showed the disciples (and specifically Thomas on the second occasion) clear proof of His resurrection. His peace, provision and purpose are on the basis that we have each encountered the living Lord Jesus Christ in a real way. As Jesus said to Thomas: “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v29).
Peace and Grace