Summary: A sermon about overcoming fear with the peace of Christ.

“No Darkness is Too Great”

John 21:19-23

On the evening of the day that Jesus rose from the dead we get a picture of a timid, frightened group of disciples.

The doors are shut and locked.

They are in hiding—in the darkness of a room.

Obviously, they didn’t believe Mary Magdalene who had told them that morning that Jesus was alive.

Everything has happened way too fast for them.

One moment they are singing Hosannas as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey—by the end of the week He is arrested, put on trial and crucified!

They thought He was the Messiah—the Son of God.

But they had watched as He was beaten by mere mortals.

They had seen people laugh at Him, spit on Him and call out: “If you are the Son of God, come off that cross!”

He died the most horrific death known to humankind.

And now, due to guilt by association—they fear that they will be next.

They aren’t only scared—they are terrified!!!

And who are they, after-all?

They are a bunch of nobodies.

They are small town blue collar fishermen.

They are former tax collectors—extortionists.

They have no power, no political clout.

No one will miss them if they just—disappear.

They are the marginalized, the freaky people.

There will be no one to defend them when the Religious leaders and the Roman soldiers come knocking on their door.

They are all alone.

They are extremely vulnerable.

What are they going to do?

You know, it’s a miracle—a True and Real miracle that the Christian faith got past this point.

Just stop and think about that for a moment.

At this moment in the history of the world—they are all that is left of the Jesus movement.

This small band of frightened homeless people is all that is left.

The One in Whom they had put all their hope in is now gone.

In their minds, Jesus is dead.

And if they are found by the authorities, they will be next.

I mean, what are we to make of this?

How did the Christian faith move past this point?

How did this nutty little group of scaredy cats carry the movement forward?

How did they get past their own locked doors?

How did they overcome their fear of the authorities?

Why didn’t they just sneak away, back to Galilee and to the other small towns they had come from?

Why didn’t they just disappear?

I mean, really, their Messiah was dead—they had backed the wrong horse!!!

Why is it that some 2,000 years later we are sitting here in East Ridge, Tennessee singing praises to, praying to, and calling Jesus Lord?

How is it that millions and millions of other people are doing the exact same thing as us all over the world?

What happened?

What are we to make of this?

How did this come to pass?

Where did these disciples work up the nerve to tell other people that Jesus is Alive?

Why would they risk their lives to do so?

And why would anyone believe them?

They weren’t educated people.

They weren’t particularly good speakers.

Most of them couldn’t even read.

And yet, here we are.

The only explanation that makes any sense is that a sealed tomb couldn’t keep Jesus in and a locked door couldn’t keep Him out!!!

In verse 18 of John 20 Mary Magdalene had gone to these disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”

And then she told them everything that had happened and everything Jesus had said to her—just as He instructed her to do.

That was in the morning.

By the evening, the disciples are still huddled in a bolted room.

Could it be that just hearing the story of Christ’s Resurrection, perhaps even believing what you’ve been told, isn’t necessarily enough?

Could it be that Jesus’ Resurrection is something that must be experienced?

Could that be why the news of the Resurrection didn’t ease the disciples’ fears?

It’s hard to escape fear in this life, isn’t it?

And some fear is even good.

For instance, if we weren’t afraid of getting too close to alligators or jumping into a cage with a lion—we would get eaten up.

But a lot of other fears are not so great, not so healthy, not so helpful.

The famous pop star named “Prince” died from a drug overdose almost exactly a year ago and search warrants from the investigation were released this past Monday.

They reveal that prescription medications were found all over his house.

They had been hidden in vitamin bottles.

The day before his death, Prince’s doctor prescribed three drugs for him: clonidine, which is used to treat high blood pressure and attention deficit disorder, and two anti-anxiety medications.

The star was addicted to opiates.

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