Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

John 20:19-23 (NIV)

As the disciples were waiting for Christ to appear to them after His resurrection, they locked themselves in a room, held their breath, and wondered what all of this could mean. Their lives had changed so quickly. Jesus had died, and He had resurrected. But the disciples were shocked. What they had thought Christ would do was not what He did. 

Now, they were in a wilderness of despair and emotional confusion, and fear guarded the door of the room they were in. Jesus does not wait for them to emerge, however. He goes to the house, appearing in their midst, and announces to them: Peace!

Jesus also walks up on us while we are locked up in fear. Fear can twist us up until we lock ourselves in emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Then we let life pass us by, and the opportunities that we have been gifted escape our grasp. Fear taunts us about all of life’s “what-ifs,” and it makes us justify our inactivity and low ambition. We fail to let what God has done infuse us and urge us on to the next level. Fear makes us forget the positive, and we focus on the negative. But Christ meets and ministers to us in our locked places of fear.

The world wants to keep us locked in and scared. Then, we won’t act boldly, even though that is the natural inclination of anyone who has received power in the name of Jesus Christ. However, faith in Jesus makes us pay attention to the things that can be so that we are not a prisoner to the things that cannot.

For us, what is next is not the thirst for success or the desire to flee from failure, instead it is to deepen our belief in Jesus Christ. We know that by deepening our faith in Jesus, “No eyes have seen nor ears have heard… what God has in store.” So, we can accept that our faith gives us room to try, if nothing else.

When we build the ark, we don’t need to know if it floats, and when we step out onto the water, we don’t need to know that we can stand. The moment we start to apply our faith, we have already succeeded. Our faith grants access to Christ, and in Christ we know that fear is nothing. What can we fear when He has already faced and conquered death? We may not get to the end of what we may call success, but we truly succeed when we apply our faith and do something that we thought we could never do.