19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
We were robbed last summer. One morning, I came downstairs and found that the screen door in the kitchen was wide open. I thought – that’s odd. I looked around, the tv was still there. It seemed like maybe I had left it open by accident. About 8 hours later, Pete asks, “Where’s the laptop?” I told him the story… I was in the house. We lock our doors now. I look at the neighbors differently now. What we have inside our homes is valuable – and it’s not just the stuff like tvs, laptops, and jewelry.
Go back with me to that scene in that locked home. The friends and coworkers of Jesus were in a house together, with the door locked. There’s a knock, they check to see who it is.
It’s Mary. The let her in, looking to the left and the right as they lock the door again. She tells them this story, “I was crying at the cemetery when two men asked me why I was crying. I thought to myself – are they kidding? But I tell them, my friend Jesus had died and I don’t know where his body is… and before I could finish, another man walked up to me, I thought, of course, he was the groundskeeper. He asked me why I was crying too… and now truthfully I’m thinking to myself, fellas, it’s a cemetery... people cry. I started to answer him with the same tale but he interrupted me, he called my name, he said “Mary,” and then I realized it was Jesus not the groundskeeper. I leapt up to hug him and then before I knew it he was gone… but he told me that I should tell y’all.
Then the story jumps to that evening. They were all together, in a locked room. After all, what we have inside is valuable, not just the stuff like tvs, laptops and jewelry. The disciples have this growing story but they clearly doubted whether or not to let it out. And so in a locked room, they sat, talking, wondering, napping, and then Jesus himself appeared. It doesn’t say that he used the door. (So as an aside, the locked door doesn’t keep Jesus out, it just keeps them locked in.) And he showed them his hands and feet. And then he breathed on them and told them that they have the power to forgive.
What was inside of them was rich and valuable and Jesus wanted them to it out.
And then he disappeared again. And they remained behind locked doors. Because remember, what we have inside is valuable, not just stuff like tvs, laptops and jewelry.
There was a knock at the door again. Startled a bit, they checked (motion) and it was Thomas. You can imagine… one of them says, “I’m not telling him that Jesus just came in… he’s gonna be so mad that we sent him out for pizza. Someone else tell him.” They open the door, look to the left and the right and then lock it up again. Someone tells Thomas and he says, “let’s just say, I doubt it.”
He gets such a bad wrap for this… remember that he’s saying this to people who have all seen something amazing and empowering and they’re still behind locked doors. I think Thomas said something like, “you really think I’m going to believe you? You saw Jesus, you believe he’s not dead, then why are you all still here? I doubt it.”
The story jumps… a week later. They’re still behind locked doors. And Jesus shows up, again no need to let him in, he’ll find his own way. He let’s Thomas have a good look at him.
Why? What’s the point? What they have inside of them was valuable… open the doors. Go give life to others. Be life for others. I think Jesus was trying to make the case that Isaiah was making in our other text. God doesn’t do things the way you think; God surprises, God intrigues. God has different ways of functioning than the human mind typically conceives.
Sometimes you wake up and find things different than you thought… go with it. Say Hallelujah and open the door. Does it seem crazy? Or sometimes simply that God has done it the wrong way? Maybe God doesn’t judge the same way as us. Maybe God does things harder than we wanted. Maybe God changes us into different people. Say Hallelujah and open the door.
Your life and your story, your feet and your hands are valuable. Open the door. The Bible is filled with invitations to humans from God that read… embrace life over death. Life wins. What you have inside is valuable – don’t keep it locked up. Let it out. It will transform the world. And humans… we doubt it.
Search this blog for a specific text or story:
I am grateful for