By Andy Hale
After morning had broken and the women had experienced the triumphant surprise of that first Easter morning, John’s Gospel takes us to a room where the disciples are locked away in fear, guilt, uncertainty, and apprehensive hope.
They had all experienced the trauma of the last few days, as their Lord and teacher was arrested, brutally beaten, and crucified. Many were feeling the full brunt of guilt for their lack of action and fear when Jesus was arrested. We know that Peter was burdened with shame. The shock and grief of what has happened mixed with the uncertainty of what was next had overwhelmed them to the point that they have locked themselves in a room.
We’ve all been there before, locked in a cage of our emotions. Our mistakes tend to come with varying degrees of emotions, such as a sense of loss, self-judgment, disappointment, blame, frustration, anger, resentment, and so much more.
But in the resurrection narrative, we see Jesus meet the disciples right where they are. His message was not one of condemnation, guilt, and judgment but one of peace, forgiveness, and empowerment.
“God loves me. This was not a new thought; it was an old thought I had long ago abandoned, especially in the last year. I had lived for years believing that there was something I must do, something I must be, to get God to like me. When bad things began happening to me, I was sure that God was punishing me,” said James Bryan Smith on the CBF Podcast.
We sat down with the author of Room of Marvels and the director of Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University to discuss a theology of grief, shame, and burden.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy