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Serving God Despite Our Fears

On the evening of that first day of the week, 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!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:19-22

The Bible does not say anything specific about what happened on the day following the resurrection of Jesus. We do know that Jesus went to the house where the disciples were hiding to show himself to them after the resurrection. He showed them His nailed-scarred hands and feet, as well as the hole on his side where the Roman soldier pierced him with a sword. This was to make sure the disciples knew that He was indeed the resurrected Jesus.

Yet it does not seem the disciples fully comprehended the magnitude of what they had experienced. Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit and commanded them to go proclaim the good news of the risen Savior, but it seems they remained in the house with the doors locked in fear of the Jewish leaders. It appears the disciples remained in hiding for at least one week. For, a week later, Jesus came and stood among them in the same house where they were hiding behind locked doors (John 20:26).

I am awed and inspired by Jesus’ patience with the disciples. He did not chastise them or reprimanded them for being afraid of the Jewish leaders. Instead, He comforted them, empowered them with His Holy Spirit, and charged them to go proclaim the resurrection of the living Christ despite their fears.

Jesus is not looking for superheroes to do His great commission work. He knows our human limitations and does not condemn us for being afraid of those who can do us physical harm. Yes, Jesus gave us the Holy Ghost power to proclaim His salvation throughout the world. However, there are times and circumstances when the fear of physical harm is so real it can hinder our desire to do Jesus’ great commission work. This is why we need to remain hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

Jesus will give us what need to serve Him despite our fears. So, on this resurrection Monday, we are reminded that God wants to put His strength in our weakness so we can do His kingdom work despite our fears. The Lord is calling us to come out of hiding to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20).

Fear is never an excuse for not doing God’s kingdom work, no matter how compelling it may be. Missionaries who serve in Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist countries know how real the fear of martyrdom is for proclaiming the gospel in those countries. Thousands of believers are imprisoned in North Korea, China, Russia, and many other countries for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet they do it despite their fear because of their obedience to the great commission.

For those who are afraid to share the gospel with friends and family, because they don’t want to ruin those relationships, Jesus wants to give you the courage through His Holy Spirit to get over your fears and share the good news of the gospel. May I remind those who are afraid to lose their jobs if they share the gospel at work, that you don’t have to necessarily use words to preach the gospel! Let your Christ-like attitude, actions, discipline, and behavior be your sermon.

Questions for Personal Reflection

How do you share the gospel in places where it is forbidden to do so?

Why was Jesus not upset with the disciples for hiding in that house on the day of His resurrection?

Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for not judging me when I am afraid to do your great commission work. Please give me the courage and boldness to share your gospel even when I am afraid. May your Holy Spirit continue to strengthen me to do your kingdom work in hostile environments.

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