Following the crucifixion and the resurrection, the disciples did not retaliate. They did not fight fire with fire. Sure, at first there was despair. But it was replaced by the sure and certain hope in the resurrection. No question, they experienced fear behind locked doors. You know, the kind of fear that takes your breath away.
According to the Easter story, Jesus came through locked doors. His presence brought the peace of God that passes all understanding. The reason why this peace of God is beyond understanding is because it is beyond reason and enters the realm of faith. Peace enters through locked doors, as does Jesus, who breathes on the disciples, moments after they lost their breath and were scared to death.
In the beginning of Creation, we recall God breathing into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life. Now Jesus, breathes the Holy Spirit who “gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6) into the disciples who join the new creation, the new Adam, the new life in Christ.
Notice that little, two-letter word, “in.” Yes, it sounds like win, and it is easy to spell. We use it in sentences all the time, and we take “in” for granted. But please don’t think just because it is only a two-letter word it is small and insignificant. My whole theology turns on that word “in.” I’m not the only one. Paul writes “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” OK? I’m in good company and so are you as we reflect for a moment on the depth and the integrity of life that begins with Christ in us.
In Christ, means our mind is in Christ. So is our heart. Our will is in Christ. If you want to talk will power go ahead, as long as it is the will of Christ. This understanding of being in Christ continues within our soul. Christ is in our soul which makes us aware for the first time or the umpteenth time of an eternal destiny we have in the kingdom of God in Christ. Even our body is in Christ, thereby making us “the body of Christ” (I Corinthians 12:27).
And please don’t forget Christ is in our social relations. You know the golden rule, “love your neighbor as yourself.” That is not easy. But in Christ we now, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are able to forgive. I can guarantee it is hard to forgive on your own. But I can also assure you that in Christ it is possible to forgive.
Come back with me to the room where the disciples were gathered. Jesus had been crucified. It was no accident, nor was a mistake. The crucifixion was an intentional, glorified murder and it was hideous. There in that room behind locked doors the disciples knew they could be next. No doubt they were plotting a defense, or a strategy for revenge, or if nothing else, an escape route. Jesus enters and empowers them through the Holy Spirit to forgive.
Do you want proof? Not one rock was thrown.