April 09, 2015

Behind Closed Doors

John 20:19-23

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!”

—  John 20:19

You would not have known by watching the disciples that first Easter Sunday that something special had taken place. There were no celebrations, no special worship services, no one singing, "We serve a risen Savior." There were just a handful of fearful disciples hiding in a room.

The disciples likely felt that hiding was safer because of what might happen to them if they went out. They might be put to death, like their Teacher. Sitting behind closed doors seemed much more secure than venturing outside where people might laugh at you, avoid you, or, even worse, persecute you. It was only with the coming of the Holy Spirit that the disciples gained the courage to face danger for their faith in Christ.

Today's church spends a lot of time behind closed doors. During my ministry I've sometimes done that instead of reaching out to people who needed me. For seven years I served a church near a rescue mission without ever meeting the people who lived there.

If you or your church spend too much time and effort behind closed doors, ask the Lord to forgive you. Ask him to open your eyes to the needs around you, and pray for courage to reach out to people who need to hear about the risen Savior.

Lord, our God, please give us the courage to step out of our comfort zones. Help us to serve where you want us to serve. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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