by David Sisler

I was driving home late one night, playing radio roulette, pushing the "seek" button on my car radio over and over. I have several favorite radio stations programmed in, but that night, the songs they were playing did not appeal to me. So, I was pushing the button. I'd listen for a few seconds to one station and then move on to another.

It was one of those nights when my mind was filled with many thoughts, none of them compatible with the radio. I glanced at the dial and realized I'd already been across the entire frequency band at least once. "Once more through the dial," I thought, "and then I'll turn it off."

I had already pushed the button and was listening to another station, when the words of a song I'd just passed screamed in my mind. I quickly scanned through the dial to get back to that song. All the time those haunting words were playing in my head. I could not find the station. I do not know the artist. All I remember are ten poignant words: "Awake is what's left at the end of a dream."

Archaeologists have recovered tombstones from ancient Rome. They found an unusual inscription on not just one, but on several markers: "non fui, fui, non sum, non curo." Translated into English it mirrors the mood of many who have awakened from their dreams: "I was not. I was. I am not. I do not care."

For the disciples of Jesus it was not a dream. It was a nightmare. They were awake and they were terrified. The leaders of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high religious council, had tasted blood. "Give us Barabbas," they had coerced the crowd to chant. "Crucify Jesus," they had responded when Pontius Pilate had tried to release the Nazarene. And Jesus had been executed.

The closely-knit band of twelve was shattered. Peter cursed. Judas committed suicide. No one could find Thomas.

Then there was the empty grave. Mary Magdalene said she had seen Jesus alive. Peter and John had seen the covering stone rolled to one side, the grave clothes neatly folded, but they had not seen their Lord.

So ten frightened disciples did the only thing they knew to do. Afraid that the mob would come for them next, they went back to the Upper Room where they had eaten the Passover Meal with Jesus. Once they were all inside, they bolted the door. If the stairs had creaked or if the wind had rattled the shutters, they would all have shrunk back with fear.

Then, suddenly, everything was different. They hadn't lit any more candles, but all at once the room was filled with light. No one had unlocked the door, but all at once he was there. Jesus was there! And the glory of his presence flooded the room.

How exquisitely fitting was his first word, "Peace!" Peace was the very thing they lacked that evening. About the last thing Jesus had said to them before he was crucified was, "My peace I give unto you." They had gone out and watched him on his way to Gethsemane and Calvary. He had said, "Peace," but there was nothing but terror. "Let not your hearts be troubled," he had said, but troubled hearts was all they knew.

Now he stood in the midst of them, beyond the tragedy, beyond the agony, beyond the darkness. Now the reason for the dread was over, and once again he said, "Peace."

John recorded the events of that evening: "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord" (John 20:20). The doors were still locked. Their enemies were still outside. But now they were glad. They had peace. It really was the Lord.

Maybe today you are hiding behind locked doors. You are afraid of life, afraid of the devil, afraid of criticism, afraid of circumstances, afraid of today and tomorrow, imprisoned in fear. You can lock yourself in, but you can't lock Jesus out. Listen. It's his voice, and he's speaking just to you. "Peace. My peace I give you." Unlock the door. It is the Lord. The dream is alive!


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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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