Summary: Circumstances that create fear, doubt and faithlessness give way to peace in the presence of the risen Christ.
Title: The Faith Fall-Out of Easter
Text: John 20:19-31
Thesis: Circumstances that create fear, doubt and faithlessness give way to peace in Christ’s presence.
We understand the concept of fallout or aftermath:
• After a nuclear explosion radioactive particles fall through the atmosphere.
• When there are fires in the mountains ash will fill the atmosphere and settle on our cars.
• When we receive a foot of rain in the mountains there will be a disastrous flood.
• When a politician makes an unpopular decision that decision may result in a recall election.
• If the top aides of the Governor of New Jersey create traffic jams on a major bridge between New Jersey and New York to punish the Mayor of a given city, there may be political fallout.
• When a really loud rock band plays Red Rocks the neighbors will complain about the racket.
• When Nebraskans hear Colorado has legalized marijuana they vow to drive around Colorado rather than risk being in an accident caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana… even though the accident rate involving drivers under the influence in Nebraska is five times greater than in Colorado; three times greater in Wyoming than Colorado and two times more likely in New Mexico than in Colorado. (As you can see, fall-out is not necessarily rational.)
It is a rarity for a significant event to not result in some kind of fallout or aftermath. The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is no exception. There was fallout.
Those who opposed Jesus, the Roman government and the Jewish religious leaders, tried to mitigate the fallout by putting guards at Jesus’ tomb to make sure he stayed in there. And those who loved Jesus simply faded into the woodwork. They just disappeared from the public eye.
One aspect of the fallout from Jesus’ death was fear and as to his resurrection, doubt.
I. Doubt and fear can permeate any critical circumstance
The disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. John 20:19-23
The bible says that Mary Magdalene had found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18) However, despite that good news we find them cowering in fear in behind locked doors.
Two things are apparent:
1. They were afraid that the authorities would do the same thing to them they had done to Jesus.
2. They were less than convinced that Jesus had actually risen from the dead.
Why would they not be fearful and why would they not be doubtful? Was there any real reason for them to think and feel otherwise? The religious leaders were on a rampage and when was the last time you heard of someone actually being resurrected from the dead?
ABC News reported on February 28 a 78 year-old man from Mississippi died in hospice care. He was removed to the mortuary where just as they were preparing for embalming he woke up and started kicking inside the body bag. Despite the fact that he did indeed die two weeks later… that coming back from the dead story was exciting enough to make national news. But that event does not compare to the outrageous nature of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I don’t think fear and doubt are all that uncommon in the aftermath of a crisis. What is going to happen to me and those I love if we lose our house or I lose my job or…? Why didn’t God do something to prevent this from happening and now that it has, why doesn’t God intervene in some miraculous way to deliver me from this circumstance?
In our first church where I served as a youth pastor a nice young couple began attending our church. They had three little girls… the youngest was a new born. The lady had severe and crippling arthritis that left her hands very twisted. She asked us to anoint her with oil and pray for her healing so we did… instantly and miraculously she was healed. Her fingers and hands were absolutely as they should be. It was a wonderful and God glorifying experience. The next morning she called Paul and me at the office and told us the arthritis was back and her hands were as distorted as ever. She asked us to come over…
It was a horrible experience. Linda had been able to hold her baby as a mother wants to hold her baby. She and Jim could hold hands as couples love to hold hands. She could caress and hold her other daughter’s faces in her hands. She could do dishes. And now she could not.
What does a pastor say to a woman whose healing has been revoked? Why would God allow such a horrible disease in the first place and why would God do such a thing to a young mother and her family? There was a ton of disappointment and doubt going through our minds…