Doors of the Bible, Part Eight, The Locked Doors

John 20:19–23, 26

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” [20] When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” [22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

[26] Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (ESV)

Intro. If you could choose between seeing someone risen from the dead or seeing someone appear out of nowhere, what would you choose?

If you were one of the disciples on that first Easter morning you would not have to choose. Jesus did both. He truly rose from the dead and he appeared out of nowhere.

In this series Doors of the Bible we have looked at the door to our hearts through the story of Cain and Abel, the door of Noah’s ark, the Passover door with the lamb’s blood, Jesus as the door of the sheep, the narrow door to heaven, the virgins’ door in of one of Jesus’ parables and the door to Jesus’ tomb.

In this post we look at the locked doors behind which the disciples were hiding for fear of the Jews on the day Jesus rose from the dead.

As it says in the text above, although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He appeared out of nowhere. He did the same thing a week later when Jesus made a special appearance just for the sake of doubting Thomas.

The reading says “doors” so we don’t know if it was a set of double doors or a series of doors like an outer and inner door that Jesus had to go through. Whatever the case, the doors were locked and Jesus came and stood among them.

And he was not, as they at first thought, a ghost. Luke tells us that Jesus asks if they had any food. They gave him fish and he took it and ate it in front of them.

The appearance of Jesus behind locked doors is one of the more powerful arguments for the real presence of Jesus in the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

The most important testimony, of course, are the plain words of Jesus, “This is my

body, this is my blood.”

There are those who insist that Jesus didn’t really mean that. He meant that the bread and wine just repesented his body and blood. But Scripture is pretty clear on the wording and for the first 1500 hundred years of church history the real presence of Jesus’ body and blood in Holy Communion was never seriously challenged.

So in addition to the clear words of Scripture and the uniform practice of 1500 years of church history we have stories like this of Jesus physically entering a place in a supernatural way.

If Jesus could get his real, physical body inside a room with locked doors, surely he can be truly present in the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

And it is his living body and blood. If Jesus had not risen from the dead we would have forgotten about him and his supper long ago. But he did rise and he is truly present with us in the Lord’s Supper.

When Jesus did come through those locked doors he said, “Peace be with you.” He could have asked the disciples “Why are you hiding behind locked doors?” “Why did you desert me when I was arrested?” Why didn’t you believe that I would rise?” But he didn’t. He came in peace, forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.

And today he comes in peace as well. Nothing we have done in our past can prevent Jesus, our risen Lord, from bringing us peace.

So now we go and tell. Jesus said, “As the Father sent me, I am sending you.” This is a message that is to be broadcast to farthest reaches of our lives and our world. Yes,, there will be people hiding behind locked doors who want nothing to do with this message. But there truly is no barrier that can stop the message. Jesus rose from the dead and continues to come to us in Holy Communion until that day when he comes to take us to our heavenly home.


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