With Halloween being around the corner, it seems appropriate to talk about fear. There are many times in life that we find we are overcome with fear. Times when all seems to be lost. Times when the world seems dark and cold. And often when we are afraid, we hide.
- We hide behind the locked doors of our hearts because we fear what people might think of us.
- We fear what they might say.
- We fear what may happen.
In my devotions the other day I read in John 20:19 that “the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.”
And they had good reason to be afraid.
Those same Jewish leaders had convinced the Romans to crucify Jesus only days earlier. It was in their power to decide that his followers deserved to die as well and then come after the disciples. Or those leaders could decide to kick them out of the synagogue, which to the Jews, was one of the worst things that could happen. According to Bible Hub commentaries excommunication from the synagogue had three levels:
“(1) The lightest continued for thirty days, and prescribed four cubits as a distance within which the person may not approach any one, not even wife or children; with this limitation, it did not make exclusion from the synagogue necessary. (2) The severer included absolute banishment from all religious meetings, and absolute giving up of intercourse with all persons, and was formally pronounced with curses. (3) The severest was a perpetual banishment from all meetings, and a practical exclusion from the fellowship of God’s people.”https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/9-22.htm
The disciples had good reason to be afraid of those leaders who had the power to hurt them, slander them, and exclude them.
It got me thinking, how often do I let the fear of people keep me locked up?
It is true that most people in my life don’t have the same power that those Jewish leaders did, but there are still a lot of people that can hurt me. My husband is probably the person who can hurt me the most due to how much he means to me. And my kids can hurt me as well. I have a teenager and a tween in the house. With hormones raging and immature brains there are lots of hurtful words that can be thrown around.
And what about people online? Social media seems to have opened the doors for people to tear each other apart with their words. It never ceases to amaze me how cruel grown adults can be to someone who disagrees with their point of view online.
Let’s be honest. We all have good reasons to be afraid of some of the people in our lives. Because people can hurt you, slander you, and exclude you. But sometimes we let that fear keep us from speaking up or from reaching out and doing the right thing. We let that fear keep us locked up. We give in to our fears.
If we read on in that passage in John, we see that “Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.” And then, in verse 20 it states that “they were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!”
So, in their darkest moment, when all seemed lost and they were overcome with fear, Jesus walks in and brings them peace and joy. After their encounter with Jesus, the disciples went from hiding behind locked doors to going out and starting a crazy movement called the Church that still lives on to this day. They went from being overcome with fear, to being emboldened for Christ. They went from feeling like all was lost, to being infused with courage.
What if in our darkest moments, when all seems lost and we are overcome with fear, we decided to invite Jesus in? What if we let Him take our fears and give us His joy and peace? Maybe we could break out of the locked rooms in our hearts. Maybe our fear would give way to boldness and courage.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Dear Sweet Jesus, we reach out to you. Come to us in our fears, worries, doubts, and uncertainties. We invite you behind the locked doors of our hearts. Help us to rest in Your Presence. As we pour out our hearts to you may your peace and joy fill our souls. Help us to lay our fears down at your feet and infuse our souls with courage. May we walk away from our time with you with our heads held high, because we know we are dearly loved and we have the King of the Universe on our side. Thank you, Jesus, for being greater than our fears. Amen.
Don’t give in to your fears.
You’ve got this.