That’s Easter! Jesus is always finding ways of getting through to us as his followers, just as he is always finding ways of breaking through our locked hearts and minds. In fact, the stronger the lock, the bigger the intrusion!
Let me try to put it the way John puts in our passage: Jesus won’t be locked out from his own people – the church.
And yet, I don’t think we as the church try to lock Jesus out intentionally. No, I suspect that in our attempts to secure ourselves from the world, we don’t consider how we are leaving out Jesus too. We don’t think about how we might not be welcoming him as a stranger or as a guest. Indeed, we don’t think about how we might be locking him out when we avoid devotion time, or serving him, or giving, or praying; and we also don’t think about how we might be locking him out when we keep our faith to ourselves and not share it with others. But we do.
Again, our passage in John's Gospel is not about how the world keeps out Jesus; it’s about how the church doesn’t always receive Jesus as its Lord and God (John 20:28). It is about how the church can erect (and has often erected) walls that keep others from experiencing the full peace of the risen Christ and receiving God’s grace (Eph. 2:11-20). We can so easily forget that the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile has been abolished in Christ (2:15-16), or that “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:28). We can forget that we who were far off as Gentiles now have access to the mercy of the God of Abraham because of the peace of Christ (Eph. 2:18). We are guests in the house of Israel because of the grace of God after all.
Therefore, try as we might to hide behind barriers or erect walls, Jesus has ways of entering anyway, all because he demolished them on the cross; he has put an end to the wall of hostility between us (Eph. 2:14). And not just by breaking that down, but by then coming out on the other side to seek, to find, to reconcile.
To receive Christ as Lord and God means that there are no more walls.
How may we receive the Spirit in our lives and so live without fear or behind walls? How we serve in a mission that shows no partiality but only the peace of Christ?
Pastor Andy Kinsey