Emmanuel

revelation323

“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” – John 20:19

I often see those pieces of artwork that has Jesus, blond hair blue eyed Swedish looking Jesus (funny right?), standing at a door and knocking. It’s a piece of artwork depicting Jesus’ words to the Church of Laodicea from the Book of Revelation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” (3:20) You often see this artwork on turn or burn leaflets; basically saying get right or get left behind. Now, I suppose that’s all well and good. I mean John does tell us that Jesus did say these words.

But then John also relates a similar story in the Gospel that he wrote. It’s late on Easter day and the disciples are locked behind closed doors off in hidden rooms out of fear. Despite the locked door Jesus appears and stands among them and says “Peace be with you.” No knocking, no door opening. Just locked door and BAM! there’s Jesus.

That’s the funny thing about Scripture, sometimes it says one thing…and then in another place it sounds like it contradicts itself. Can I say that? I suppose we’ll wait and see if I lose my union card. So, which is it? Does Jesus stand at the door and knock; or does he just come right on in invited or not? What if the answer is yes.

See, here’s the thing. I’m of the opinion that Jesus is active in this world, he’s present in all of life’s situations, he’s working in your life right now no matter if you know it or not. I wish I knew how it all worked, how Jesus is present in awful and horrible situations as well as the joyous and happy ones but I don’t. What I do know is that Jesus is all about God’s presence with us! In fact, That’s his name Emmanuel, God with us.
What if this whole discipleship Christian thing isn’t so much about getting saved or believing the right stuff or acting a certain way but more about coming to recognize the presence of God that’s already there, active in your life and all over the world. I think that might be right. In fact, Martin Luther in his Small Catechism’s section on the Lord’s Prayer basically says that. In each petition, explains Luther, we acknowledge that what God does in our lives and in our world he does without needing us or our prayer. Basically then we are praying that we learn to see what he’s already up to. So, one what doors of your life is Jesus knocking? In what locked away places is Jesus appearing? In the midst of what fears is Jesus saying Peace be with you? How and what and where and when are you seeing Jesus?

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