During the Lenten season, members of Faith Lutheran Church have written our daily devotions. Today’s writer is Julie Grove.
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:19-23
Fear is a powerful emotion. It has the ability to inhibit us from doing what we know is right for fear of how others will perceive us. The disciples were not together for fellowship, but because of fear of what the Jews would do to them. When Jesus came to them twice he said “peace be with you.” Their fear subsided and they were joyful because Jesus was with them.
Immediately after their fear had turned to joy Jesus gave them a commission that would intimidate most people “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” By going out into the world to spread the word of God they faced persecution and even death. But, Jesus reminds them that they will never be alone. He breathed on the disciples and told them to “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
We must remember that God is always with us. When we are fearful or disheartened we should turn to the Lord to help us overcome our struggles. The Holy Spirit is with us. He is the Encourager for the cowardly and those who have lost faith and hope.
Let us pray: Lord, help me to have the courage to do that which I know is right even when it is the more difficult path to take. Allow me the strength to share my faith with others in my life. I thank you for the knowledge that you are always with me and that I do not need to face my fears alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.