July 02, 2012

True Safety

John 20:19-23

He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
—John 20:22


One day when I was in third grade, a bully named Michael waited for me after school. He stood at the school door and demanded that every kid give up their leftover lunch money. Those who resisted were greeted with a bloody nose. I lived across the street from school, so I decided to make a run for home—with Michael on my heels. I knew if I could make it home, I had a chance to keep the small change I had. With only seconds to spare, I made it to the door and locked it shut. Michael was not happy with me. I did not want to go to school the next day for fear he would get me. A locked door was my friend! My safety rested in staying behind secure doors.

In a similar way, the disciples wanted the doors locked because their lives were on the line. The religious leaders were out to get them because of their connection with Jesus. The life they imagined with Jesus was clipped at the cross and buried in a tomb. Their vision of a new kingdom of righteousness and peace had turned into a nightmare.

But the resurrected Lord found a way to slip past their fears and anxiety. He had a special delivery to make to a frightened bunch of disciples: the peace of his presence. Jesus quietly said, “Peace be with you,” and he revived their joy.

Jesus promises today also to send the best help we can ever have: the Holy Spirit, who will never leave us or forsake us.

Holy Spirit, breathe on us the peace that drives away our fears and worries. May we put our trust in our only Savior. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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