Jesus offers encouragement in two ways.
The doors were locked. The day had been eventful. The disciples learned of an empty tomb early in the morning, and two of them just returned from Emmaus saying the Lord had appeared to them. Though the sun was setting, the excitement continued.
As the two disciples from Emmaus were speaking, Jesus appeared in the room even though the doors were locked. At first, this startled Jesus’ followers, then they became overjoyed when they realized it was truly Jesus. Jesus spent some time with them, and he encouraged the disciples in two ways.
Encouragement to help with their doubts.
The Gospel writers recall the disciples still had doubts in their minds. Jesus understood their doubts, so he offered an opportunity to touch his hands and feet. He also ate in front of them. A ghost or figment of their imagination would not have hands, feet, or the ability to eat, so it really had to be Jesus. He encouraged the disciples through their doubts.
One of the ways Jesus encourages people with doubts today is giving them an opportunity to see his hands and feet, the church, in action. The church should help one another as well as the community. The church is a picture of Jesus and gives us an opportunity to see him in action.
I wish I could say this was a perfect picture; however, the picture is not always perfect. I can say I believe the world is a better place because of the lives of genuine Christ followers. Their love and work shined in the world around them.
Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.
Encouragement to share their hope.
Jesus helped the disciples with their doubts, then he sent them to share their hope.
John 20:21 says, “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Jesus never intended for the disciples to keep his resurrection a secret. The Lord does not intend for Christians to keep our hope a secret. He desires for us to share it with those around us.
In many ways, these pieces of encouragement are connected. The person with doubts sees the Christian community sharing hope. Our sharing of hope allows the Lord’s love to shine brightly. What ways have you found to share your hope?