Darkness is crippling. Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast last October leaving millions in debilitating darkness. It was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of 2012 as well as the second-costliest hurricane in US history. Families lost loved ones. Businesses closed shop. Life came to a stand still.
There is another kind of darkness that lingers – spiritual darkness. It’s a darkness you can feel.
After Jesus died many of his closest followers experienced the very real darkness of grief, fear and doubt. They became paralyzed. In John 20 we read about the solution to this darkness. Jesus entered into each situation. As he did, the darkness began to lift.
If you are experiencing darkness today, there is hope!
Situation 1: Mary – From Confusion to Clarity (vv. 1, 14–18)
After the death of Jesus, many of his followers scrambled and panicked. They were unsure of what to do. In John 20:1 Mary returns to Jesus’ tomb and when she arrives, she find that the stone has been rolled away and the tomb is empty!
In the confusion of the moment, Jesus arrives but she doesn’t even recognize him. In fact, she mistakes him for a gardener!
The moment that Jesus spoke her name, she went from a state of confusion to perfect clarity. She immediately knew who he was and ran to tell others about him – this was her calling.
Her clarity helped her know her calling – to tell others about him!
His resurrection tells you that THIS life is not all there is: – Death is not the end. – In Christ, all hopes can be revived. – Our Savior has triumphed over the worst this world can throw at us.
Like Mary, the one that has trusted Christ is given a clear calling: to spread that news.
Situation 2: The Disciples – From Panic to Peace (vv. 19–23)
John describes a scene where the disciples are hiding out in a room that has been locked “because of fear.” Imagine that!
- Peter had walked on water and yet he was locked away due to fear.
- James, one of the sons of thunder, was locked away due to fear.
- John, who stood by Jesus to the end, was locked away due to fear.
This room was full of men paralyzed by fear. Jesus appears to them and speaks just one word: Peace. He drove out the panic with his presence.
You probably know what its like to caught in the darkness of fear: – of losing our job… – of losing someone’s love… – of being hurt again… – of messing up again…
His presence can bring peace in your life today!
Situation 3: Thomas – From Doubt to Determined (vv. 24–29)
One of the disciples, Thomas, wasn’t in the room when Jesus showed up the first time. When he heard about it, he doubted it happened the way it was told. That’s why we call him “Doubting Thomas.”
Thomas told the others he would not be convinced unless he saw Jesus with his own two eyes and unless he could feel scars in Jesus’ hands and side.
A few days later Jesus appeared to them a second time and spoke “peace” to them. It turns out that Thomas didn’t need to touch Jesus’ wounds. The moment he saw him he cried out, “My Lord and My God!”
He didn’t need to touch the wounds. He only needed to see Jesus himself.
We may think we need proof, something tangible, something irrefutable before we can believe. But we really don’t. We need to see Jesus with the eyes of our heart.
A fresh vision of Jesus will dispel the darkness of grief, fear and doubt and give us a new beginning.