Overstocked with fear and confusion, Peter faced a Sabbath like no other. His previous days had ended in a brutal setback. Hopelessness and condemnation circled him like vultures ready for the kill. He toyed with two thoughts: feeling foolish for believing in a now dead savior and dreading his return to fishing in the waters of Galilee. In some way, all that he had been living the previous three years suddenly became an unexplainable memory. No one, especially Peter, wanted to talk about it. The remaining eleven had fallen with him into doubt. Peter’s anger recycled its way through his broken heart and shattered mind.
We may try to relate to such a day because we have had such a year. Everything expected and projected for 2020 crashed around us. First, we pretended it was just a bad dream. We rushed through motions of normalcy, hiding behind more than just a mask. We hid behind the frustrations of the broken rhythms in our lives. We lived aghast at the deterioration of the American profile. Riots, brutality, earthquakes of anger and unrest repainted the landscape of the America we loved. So, how do we face 2021 with a confidence that the tide will turn? Will the physical, political and emotional health of our nation rebound? Or was the America we believed in, just a facade we had bought into? What do we do now?
For starts, let’s not make it about America. Let’s make it about the morning Mary burst into the room where the disoriented disciples of Jesus were hiding. Let’s make it about the download of her message to His disciples and Peter. Peter had to recover. Before the Messiah walked through the walls of their hideout, Peter wrestled with Mary’s words: “I have seen the Lord!”. Why did he? Because He had not! Slowly her words turned the calendar of their faith to a fresh hope. But first, Jesus had to literally walk Himself through the walls of their seclusion, and back into their lives. His entrance came with a promise and a commission. “Peace be with you!”, He declared. Then the renewed call: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” With that He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” That moment everything began to change! A new reality emerged. They restocked their faith!
We need to do the same. We need to restock His message in our hearts and go knee deep into His peace and recommit ourselves to the great commission. If the first century disciples could rebound, we can, too. The mission of the Church has not changed. The God kind of faith must be based solidly on the power of God’s Word and the power of His Spirit. It’s not so much that we failed, but that we weren’t ready! First century believers went through far worse than we have in 2020. Our spiritual compass must be reset and our faith restocked. Soak in the words Peter wrote the Church:
“In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power…” I Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)
As the first century believers revived and emerged in the peace and commission of Christ, so must we. The toughness of our faith must be restocked with the revelation of who we really are in Christ. Our identify must shift from a people in a pandemic to a people empowered for a purpose. We must lead. We are the sent ones! Let’s get His movement back into our talk and walk. Let’s live overstocked with His peace and power. Why? Because as the Church of Jesus Christ, we must offer the world more than a masked version of the Gospel! We must overstock ourselves with His Word and boldness. Individually, we must keep moving forward.