UNLOCK THE DOOR
: John 20:19-31
The Gospel for today presents us with a powerful image; the disciples were meeting behind, what sort of doors? Locked doors. And they were locked because of fear.The disciples response to their fear was to hide. The word ‘hide’ always reminds me of Adam and Eve; their response to their fear was to hide.
Interestingly they hide by painting their Dad out to be an ogre. Someone they had to lock out of their lives. Do you notice that’s the same with the disciples; where are the locks being locked from? The inside.
Now the disciples may or may not have had good reason to be afraid, but they were the ones keeping the doors locked. They were the ones who locked the door. Their answer to their fears.
Is locking the door; locking others out and locking yourself in, the best way to find life, life lived to the full?
I must admit that I’ve done a fair bit of ‘door locking’ in my life. I still do at times lock people out. I get angry and lock people out; they’re the problem, they need to change, I’ll stay away from them to keep myself safe. Are you ever tempted to lock the door, to shut people out in the hope of keeping safe? Where are your locked rooms?
Then Jesus does a wonderful, wonderful thing. Jesus comes right into the middle of that room, and what a difference he makes. He breathes life into those people. He brings hope. He gives direction and purpose. He now shapes their life, not their fears, real or otherwise.
I love seeing how Jesus works, because I know if you had to wait for me to open my locked doors, it would never happen. Actually if I heard you knocking, telling me to open my door because I was being silly, I’d lock my door all the more. Your condemnation wouldn’t get me to open my door, let alone my heart.
Jesus doesn’t knock on the door, he comes into the room. Not to condemn but to breathe life into his disciples. Jesus comes into the room and all of a sudden the disciples will have the desire and the strength to open the doors that they had locked.
Do you notice that the threat is still there when they unlock the door and step out? We just read from the book of Acts that Peter and John were dragged before the high council, so the threat was very real, but did you notice what was motivating Peter and John. It wasn’t their fear, but their trust is in God, their trust is in Jesus, their risen king. That’s why they say; “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”
They are living free, they are living out Jesus call on their lives, and no fear, threat or condemnation was going to shape them. Jesus was the one who shaped them. Jesus had breathed his breathe of life into them, empowering them to continue his mission in the world under the same authority that he had.
They are living from the core of who they are in Jesus. Their life is now a living expression of who they are. In Jesus they are the ones who now shape the world, the world with all its threats and bully tactics no longer shapes them. Jesus has breathed his life into them, they have unlocked the door and walked out into life with Jesus, breathing his life giving presence into everything they see and do.
I don’t think the high council really understand what had happened. Peter and John aren’t simply following another teaching. They’re not obeying a new set of rules. They are changed people, changed from the core of their being; so now it is who they are that is being given living expression.
Who’s telling you to shut up? Who is feeling uncomfortable because you’re not controlled by them, but living from the core of your being in Jesus? Who is seeking to intimidate you?
If I was to lash out at those trying to control or intimidate me, I reckon that would be like me locking the doors again. Putting up my defences, fighting to keep them out. ‘You’ll never make me to what you want’. But that’s not what the disciples were doing.
They don’t lock their doors; they stay true to who they are in Jesus. Jesus shapes them, not the bully boys of the high council; who were locked up in their own fears. The fear of losing their place of worship and their nation. They were so locked up that they couldn’t see the God they worshipped even when he stood in front of them!
I don’t want to be like that, and thank God in Jesus we aren’t. Jesus has come and stood in the middle of our locked room and empowered us for life, life lived under his authority.
Jesus doesn’t simply give his disciples a mission to do, he’s given them life to live; life to share.
What’s the opposite of life?
We have life to live, life to share. That’s what Jesus came to bring; new life, in a new kingdom, where fear has no place, because perfect love drives out all fear, and Jesus is perfect love, love incarnate.
So where is the devil tempting you to exist in a locked room? Who is he tempting you to keep out, because you’ll feel safe in your locked room? Where is the world around you seeking to impose it’s ways on so that you’ll shut up and follow the crowd? Who’s seeking to condemn you taking the life right out of you?
Good News, Jesus specialises in breathing his life into people that they open the door on the new life he has, enjoying life with him as their king, in his kingdom. Jesus isn’t into locking anyone away, but he has come that you might have the freedom to live life to the full.
Jesus has breathed the Spirit into you; your life is now lived from the source of life, from the very core of who you are. You have the breath of God filling your lungs that you can live true to who you are. The world around you doesn’t mould you, Jesus has, Jesus does, Jesus will, so that you have become a change agent, an agent of life. In Jesus, you now change the world.
You change the world as you live true to who you are in Jesus, breathing the Spirit’s life giving presence into every situation; forgiving and not condemning, loving and not hating, serving and not being greedy. Jesus has invited you to join him in life, living life to the full. That makes you a change agent, and not a reactor to fear.
Does Jesus want you to be living as his change agent, breathing his life into every situation and person you meet this week?
Sure does; and in Jesus, you have what it takes, he has breathed the Spirit in you, he has forgiven you, he does love you, and he is returning. Returning to share his life up close and personal, so that we live life to the full, in his fullness.
So this week I’d encourage you to ask Jesus to reveal some of the locked rooms in your life, that you might invite him in that he might set you free for life. Invite Jesus in, and enjoy his breath of fresh air.
This week talk with Jesus about who to share this life with this week. Invite Jesus to lead you to another person that as you live from the core of who you are in Jesus, the life he has might be made real to them, that they might hear Jesus invitation to life, that they might discover him behind their locked door setting them free for life, life lived in all his fullness.
Let us pray.
Jesus, where is fear causing me to exist in a locked room? I invite you into those spaces; shed your light, your presence that I might be living life with you from the core of who I am in you. Jesus who are the people trying to shut me up, fill me with your breath of life that I live true to who I am in you bringing your life into this world of death. Jesus fill me daily with the Spirit that I grow to greater maturity in living true to who I am in you, living out this beautiful life you have won for me to share with you and all your brothers and sisters. Jesus come in, heal me, grow me, love me that I might be all you’ve dreamed possible.
Pastor Tim Kock