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  • Writer's pictureSouth Lyon Church

The tomb was empty. The women had come and told the apostles this. We read that John and Peter ran to the tomb to see for themselves. Did others come? We don’t know. Those that ran did confirm the tomb was empty. Mary stood outside talking to who she thought was a gardener until she realized it was Jesus as He spoke to her. Jesus was alive! The tomb was empty!

All of this should have been cause for celebration. As we read on in the account recorded by John, we find out that wasn’t the case. The apostles, minus two,

were hiding behind a locked door. Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and took his own life was not there. And for reasons we don’t know, Thomas was also absent that evening. But there was no party to celebrate the risen Lord going on. They were hunkering down so they wouldn’t be the next ones arrested and possibly impaled upon a stake.

We are told that the doors were locked out of fear (John 20:19-20). What could, what would a knock at the door bring? Jewish religious leaders now coming for Jesus’ followers? Or worse, Roman soldiers to rid the land of the followers of this man from Nazareth, who had turned the city upside down with His teachings and claim to be a king. The lock would hopefully keep all that on the other side of the door.

There wasn’t a knock, there was Jesus suddenly standing among them. Like the stone rolled in front of the tomb, the locked door could not keep Him out. As He stands there, the words He speaks to this frightened gathering of those who had spent so much time with Him were simple and comforting, “Peace be with you.” It was a peace they could not get from a lock on a door.

Most of us lock our doors every night. Our reasons for this are similar to those on the evening that Jesus rose from the grave: safety, self- preservation, keeping potential harm on the other side of the door. It is a cultural thing, a wise thing in the world in the times we live in and these locked doors do give us peace at night when we sleep.

Something to think about the next time you lock or unlock your door. . . peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding that Paul tells us about (Philippians 4:7). A peace that may not take away all nervousness or anxiety, but that helps as we realize this world is not our home and Jesus has overcome this world (John 16:33). Yes, we may stress at times, be anxious at times, even freak out on occasion. But no lock can keep us from the love that comes from our risen Lord, and in that we can have peace.

Still locking my doors at night,


  • Writer's pictureSouth Lyon Church

You know that person who goes behind your back? Maybe it is to get something they want and you may be in the way. Or it could be a power struggle and they want to win. Maybe it is an idea you shared with them, they liked and now want to take credit for it. Another option is they dislike your idea and want to kill it before it catches on with others. We have all dealt with these types of relationships in one way or another.

There is a situation like this we see Jesus dealing with. We don’t know what caused James and John to go to Jesus and ask to be the top two “lieutenants.” We do know that it happened (Mark 10:35-37) and we know the other ten weren’t pleased with what they did (v41). We sometimes think these twelve who were the closest to Jesus were above this kind of behavior. They were not. And Jesus had to deal with this situation.

We can almost understand why they would have done this. Someone had to be the closest to the leader, why not them? Maybe they thought showing some initiative would separate them from the pack and be just what Jesus was looking for. What it they overheard Thaddeus and Bartholomew talking about this placement and the sons of Zebedee felt they were much more qualified. It could have been they just wanted the power and position. I don’t know why, but I do know they approached Jesus with this proposal.

What seems to be lost on them, and often on us, is Jesus’ response. He doesn’t rebuke the two or the ten; but, he enlightens them as to the way things will be with those in the kingdom. We are not to be like the world, but different. He tells them to worry less about your position and more about serving; going so far as to give himself as an example in a way that had to be puzzling at the moment. Giving one’s own life up in order to serve others.

There are people we love to serve. Maybe they have served us and it is an opportunity to reciprocate. It could be they are just a wonderful person and it is a joy to be able to serve them. Jesus has already stated that we are to be different--to serve, to love to care for those who we would consider our enemies. He conveys this idea while saying serving those who serve us is the pagan way and we are not be like that (Matthew 5;43-48). In other words, serve those who maybe you just don’t really want to serve.

Yeah, that’s hard.

Yes, it is. It calls for thinking differently, looking past what happens in this world, to what happens beyond. Who is it that you have an issue with? Maybe with cause, maybe without. Think about them, then think about the fact that you are loved, maybe not by them, but loved from above. How are you going to serve them this week? A tough task, but one we are called to do.

Praying to serve,


  • Writer's pictureSouth Lyon Church

About 50 years ago, there was a movie that became a TV series. The title of both was The Odd Couple. Two different individuals who were completely different on the surface were thrust into a coexistence as roommates. The movie and series were both well received and made for a number of laughs as two completely different outlooks and occupations collided with each other.

Probably without the laughs, there is an odd couple that followed Jesus. Last week we mentioned about this rag tag group Jesus put together to change the world. Some were brothers, individuals who would have been together for years. Others maybe weren’t business partners, but at least worked in the same occupation. And some seem to have been friends. Individuals that would have fit together. That is except for two.

The first we are very familiar with. He wrote the gospel that bears his name: Matthew. In multiple gospels, we read how Jesus approached him, ate at his house, and called him to leave his job to follow Him. What we don’t know is what it meant for him to leave his job. He was an employee of sorts of the Romans. As a tax collector you collected taxes from your countrymen and passed it along to the occupying officials—after keeping what you wanted for yourself as your payment. As History tells us, a tax collector was most likely not very well liked.

The other one is only seen in the list of apostles and is mentioned just ahead of Judas. We know a first name and a descriptive title for him--Simon the Zealot. We don’t know what his occupation was, who his parents were, or even how he came to be a follower of Jesus. We simply know he was one of the twelve and the descriptive title attributed to him as a zealot.

That title does however give us a little insight into who he was. Josephus would later write that the title was given to a sect who were zealous for pure religion. And the Greek word comes from the Hebrew for “jealous.” We get the picture that this individual was devoted to having pure (in his mind) adherence to God’s ways. Often times this would include reclaiming the land of their forefathers back from the occupiers. In this case, the Romans.

When you think of this last point and the employer of Matthew, we can see where this would truly be an odd couple. And yet Jesus called them together, to serve side by side. Is that not a lesson for us today? We may not see eye to eye with a brother or sister in Christ. What gets overlooked, maybe because it is so small, is the word “in.” If we are both “in” Christ we have been called together to serve together, just as the zealot and tax collector were. These relationships may seem odd, especially to the world around us. But it wouldn’t be the first time or even the last, that followers of Jesus may be accused of being odd.

Oddly your brother,


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