Summary: Part of a series that focuses on the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus. This sermon deals with the appearance in the Upper Room
Series: Resurrection Appearances
McMinnville First April 13, 2008
During my ministry there have been a numerous occasions when I was called upon to go into a jail or a prison. Some time ago I went to Memphis to visit with an inmate in a Federal Prison. It was like trying to get into Fort Knox. You would go through one security station and then another, each time passing through a locked door.
Let’s be honest, no matter how many times you see it or hear it or watch it on television, the clanging shut of a prison door is a unsettling sound. But you know, some of the most tightly closed doors are miles from a prison. In fact, most of us do not have to visit a prison to encounter them, they are as close as the human heart.
Today’s scripture is a story about locked doors. The account begins on the afternoon of Easter Sunday. The disciples are gathered in a room.
We are told that the door is locked because the disciples are afraid. Suddenly, out of nowhere Jesus comes to them. The disciples are overjoyed at seeing the risen Lord. Jesus’ word to them was brief and to the point.
He said, "Peace be with you," and instructed them that just as God had sent him into the world, he was now sending them into the world. With this he leaves.
It is here that we have the story of Thomas. Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus came. When he is told what happened he said, "Unless I place my fingers into the holes in his hands and thrust my arm into his side, I will not believe."
A week passes. Guess what? The disciples are once again gathered in a room with the door locked. Jesus once again comes to then and greets them with the same blessing, "Peace be with you." He immediately strikes up a conversation with Thomas and Thomas believes.
The disciples were leading lives behind locked doors. We can almost hear the sqeaky hinges of a clanging prison door even now.
I. What do you suppose caused the locked doors in the disciples lives?
1. For one thing, fear.
We are told that the disciples were afraid of the Jews. They had seen what the hatred of the Jews did to Jesus. If they hated him that much surely they would not hesitate to do the same thing to them.
They were afraid for their lives and for the safety of their family.
2.But there was perhaps another reason.
A week passes between Jesus first visit and his second. Yet the door is still locked. You see, Thomas was not the only one among the eleven who doubted. They began to question among themselves, "Was it really Jesus or was it just a figment of our imagination?" Doubt and fear working together will cause the bravest among us to seek safety behind a locked door.
II. Let’s be honest.
The disciples were not the last people who tried to live their lives from behind locked doors. Many of us have locked doors. Oh, they may not be physical doors, but still we have allowed our lives to be placed under lock and key. The clanging doors are so deafening that we are unable to function. We put up barriers, we wear masks, we are just as imprisoned as someone on death role.
III. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CAUSES OF LOCKED DOORS IN OUR LIVES?
1.The same as the disciples.
Maybe it is not the fear of losing our life instead we fear failing at what we do. That we will strike out, or make the wrong call, or that the boss will not like the report we turn in. That the husband will not like the way you have cleaned house.
Perhaps we fear that some one we really do not know will not like us. Or if so and so really knew what I was like they would have nothing to do with me. We are constantly worrying about what people are thinking about us. So fear causes us to put on our little masks and seek refuge behind the locked door of our heart.
And like the disciples we have our doubts. A certain amount of doubt is probably healthy but even this can go to far. WE doubt God. We doubt the scriptures. We doubt the church. We doubt the Sunday teacher. We doubt ourselves and our own abilities. So instead of living life in faith we lock the door of doubt and hide.
2. But there are other causes of locked doors in our lives that are not mentioned in the text.
Perhaps guilt has caused more locked doors than anything else. Guilt over sin sometimes makes us feel as if we are shut off from God.