Count your locks, name them one by one

Published 4:38 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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By R.A. Tea Mathews

It was such a great idea: A combination lock for my house. And I was ecstatic.

“I will never get locked out again!” I said to perfect strangers. “You just punch in the code!” 

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But there’s a tiny bit more to it—one must change the battery yearly. Several weeks ago, I remembered this. Unfortunately, that was after I found myself locked out. 

Two friends decided it would be cheaper to break into my house than to get a locksmith. They came, smashed the glass, disappeared, returned, and replaced it. 

Like magic, the drama ended.

Melanie, my neighbor, and her son, Cade, then showed up. With his handy tools, Cade inserted a new battery, we tested the lock, it worked perfectly, and he went home.

Somehow, minutes later, I found myself locked out again. I am not kidding. 

Mel and Cade joined me in searching Google and watching You-tube videos. But it was futile. I resigned myself to getting a hammer, breaking that window, and never telling the first two friends. 

“Wait,” Mel said, leaving and returning with David, her husband. He had been the key all along, and I was suddenly back inside my house. David took the door off the hinges!

This isn’t my only story about keys and lessons learned from locked doors. Perhaps you have one, too. And so does the Bible. 

On the evening of the Resurrection, the disciples had gathered behind locked doors “for fear of the Jews,” and Jesus appeared to them. (John 20:19)

Roughly a week later, Jesus returned to the same room. Do you recall how the doors were at that time? 

  1. They were locked.
  2. They were unlocked.
  3. The doors were wide open.
  4. The Bible doesn’t say.

Consider your choices and lock in your answer.

You often hear that the Resurrection emboldened the disciples, turning them from fearful men to those who spoke boldly for Christ. 

That’s not exactly right. 

Here’s the passage: A week later (Jesus’) disciples were in the house again … Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them…” (John 20:26 NIV)

The correct answer is No. 1. The disciples were still meeting behind locked doors, still afraid. Which explains why Jesus stayed with them before finally ascending to His Father in heaven. 

The disciples needed Him. 

Do you recall how long Jesus remained on earth after the Resurrection?

  1. Eight days
  2. Twenty-one days
  3. Forty days
  4. The Bible doesn’t say

Lock in your answer. Here’s the passage.

…(Jesus) also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to (the disciples) over a period of forty days and speaking of things regarding the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

The correct answer is No. 3, forty days. There’s a beautiful chapter in my book, “Breakfast on the Beach with the Risen Savior,” which explains what Peter still needed from Jesus.

One disciple wasn’t present when Jesus appeared in that locked room on the evening of His resurrection. This absent disciple then refused to believe Jesus was alive. Was that:

  1. Andrew;
  2. Thomas;
  3. Judas; or
  4. Bartholomew?

Lock in your answer. Here’s what happened. 

The disciple, who hadn’t seen Jesus, scoffed when the disciples told him Jesus was alive. “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails … and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

When Jesus appeared to the disciples a second time, he said to Thomas, “Place your finger here, and see My hands; and take your hand and put it into My side…” (John 20:27)

The correct answer is No. 2.

The disciples needed more than the Resurrection. They needed time with the risen Lord.

We all do.

We need long talks with God. We need to sit quietly in His presence. 

But how many do this? How many are interrupted by thoughts of all those deeds left undone? 

How many have seen miracle after miracle, yet anxiously locked down their hearts, refusing to trust God? The Lord knows and His pain doesn’t end there.

Countless Christians love and follow Jesus but stand afraid to speak for Him, choosing instead to live quietly, hiding from a “modern” world hostile to our Lord.

Many have also locked the door on what God wants them to do—perhaps to help someone or maybe to start a new life.

Count your locks, name them one by one. And know there’s freedom.

Reach out to the Lord in prayer; Jesus has the key to every lock in your life.

The Rev. Mathews, BA, MDiv, JD, is a faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at to join her 1-Minute Bible Study.

Copyright © 2023 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.