So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, - John 20:19a
I’ve read this Scripture a dozen times. Yet, this year it takes on a whole new meaning. Throughout our country, and around the world, Christians will celebrate Easter with their doors shut amidst quarantine orders and social distancing precautions.
Never have I, nor any living generation for that matter, experienced a time in which we could not gather together on Easter Sunday. A friend lamented to me this week about the loss she is feeling not being able to sit in a pew this Sunday, taking in the familiar sights, sounds, and smells that remind her of her Risen Savior.
We are all experiencing a lot of emotions right now. Fear. Frustration. Anger. Despair. We don’t know how long we will all be in quarantine and how much life this virus will take going forward. We read in John 20:19 that after Jesus’ crucifixion, His disciples were gathered together the evening of Easter Sunday with their doors shut, out of fear. For them, it was fear of persecution, and it is a reminder for us to be thankful. Thankful that we live in a country free of the fear of persecution for our faith. It is also a reminder to pray. Offering prayers for our brothers and sisters around the world who gather behind closed doors because to be caught worshiping Jesus will surely result in death.
Jesus lamented on the cross, echoing the words of Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” It is a reminder that there is no shame in crying out to God. In fact, when we cry out to the God who hears us, it is actually an offering of praise, revealing our dependence upon Him.
The Good News of Psalm 22 is that the Lord hears the cry of those who call out to Him,
24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.
25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly;
I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.
26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!
The Good News for the disciples is that the Father not only heard the cry of His Son on the cross, but also answered three days later when He raised Him from the dead.
It’s Good News for us too as we reflect upon that day:
19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” - John 20:19
As you worship Jesus in your home with the doors shut this Sunday, may you find peace and hope with the risen Jesus, for He is with you.