Advent is about waiting for Someone to come. Christmas shows us that He can appear  in unexpected ways and in unsuspected places. The Resurrection teaches us something similar—you never know where the Risen Christ will appear. Or when. Luke, Matthew and John all portray the disciples as stuck after the tragedy of the Crucifixion. We find them crammed in locked rooms or trudging sorrowfully toward Emmaus. It is as if they are waiting for something. But for what, they do not know.

Below is a brief reflection on a verse from a Resurrection scene in John’s Gospel, excerpted from a sermon I preached over the weekend. In all our waiting, you never know when or where he will turn up….


On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”(Jn 20:19)

A locked room is no good when there is an empty tomb.

If a tomb’s sealed stone has been knocked to the side, then your room’s locked doors don’t mean anything.  Shut entryways are no match for a Man whose tomb just lost its stone doorway. A Man who will not stay dead, cannot be kept out.

At the end of John 19 there is a sealed tomb. Near the end of John 20 there is a locked room. The 1st cannot kept Jesus in.  The 2nd cannot keep Jesus out.

When we come across a Resurrection scene, we need to recognize that something cosmic, something epic, something irreversible, something terrifyingly wonderful has happened… something that changes everything. When a dead Man walks out of his tomb, then a wrench has been tossed into the machinery of Evil. A holy virus has infiltrated the superstructure of the Dark Powers. That emptied grave has sent into reeling Death, Disease, Darkness and the Devil….

And while all this cosmic madness is underway in unseen realms, the disciples of the Risen Lord are huddled up in a locked up room… afraid.

To be clear, the Disciples have not locked the doors to keep out Jesus. They are trying to keep safe from the Jewish leaders who have crucified their Friend. They are dreading that awful sound: the sound of footsteps at the door, that awful sound of a hard knocking.

But Jesus came and stood among them. 

Maybe you are reading this and you feel trapped and stuck, locked up and afraid. Or maybe you are trying to lock yourself up, hoping to keep Jesus himself at bay. It is the footsteps and knocking of Jesus you don’t want to hear at the door. Maybe you are hoping he will observe the “No Trespassing” you’ve tacked up. Or maybe you feel imprisoned and it is your enemies who have thrown away the key. And now it’s just waiting, waiting, waiting… straining the ears sensitive to every sound, hoping Someone might show up for a jailbreak.

If Jesus made a tomb-break, he can pull of a jailbreak.

Both Advent and this particular Resurrection scene affirm this: There is no distance too excessive for the Coming Christ… even if it takes Incarnation. And they do not make doors thick enough or locks strong enough to keep the Resurrected Christ out. No stone is dense enough, no bars wide enough, no dungeon secure enough, to keep you trapped when the Resurrected Christ has broken out of his tomb, descended into hell, and come back to talk about it.

Jesus came and stood among them… “Peace to you.”

Jesus claims in Revelation 3 that he is the One “who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” (v.7). He is coming for you, clasping the key of a King in His hand.

A locked room is no good when there is an empty tomb.

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