May 31, 2020: Feast of Pentecost
Reading: John 20:19–23
(Translation from The Message – The Bible in Contemporary Language: Eugene H. Peterson)
Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them.
The followers of Jesus are afraid — so afraid they lock themselves into the house. The past few days have shaken them, unnerved them. They remember the horrifying ways Jesus was tortured. They remember Joseph’s kindness in finding a tomb for the body of Jesus. Just that morning they had found the empty tomb and lamented that they “do not know where they put him.” Then with no warning, Jesus stands before them wishing them peace. He proves it is he by showing them the wounds in his hands and side. He again wishes them peace. Then to this frightened, tired, taken aback group of his friends, he abruptly tells them he’s sending them out to do as he did.
If I had been in that locked room and had seen Jesus for the first time since he was laid in the tomb, here’s what I’d want to say. “Hold on a second! Where have you been? What happened? How did you get here?Send us out? We’re afraid, get it? We’re too afraid to go anywhere!”
Jesus’ response to me would be the same as to his followers in the locked room. “He took a deep breath and breathed into them.” He breathed into them the Friend, the Advocate, God’s Spirit he had promised them. His friends, perhaps feeling a new confidence, unlocked the door and did as Jesus asked.
Every day, Jesus breathes into us the Friend, the Advocate, and God’s Spirit he promises to us. Let’s unlock the doors and do as Jesus asks us to do, to do as he did.
I will name the doors in myself I want to unlock. To name these doors, I ask God’s Holy Spirit to enlighten, guide, strengthen and console me.