Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 13:49
Bible Book: John / Johannes
Verse: 19 – 31
The story of Thomas in John 20:19-31 is the story of someone who battled with his faith. Thomas himself says in verse 25, “Unless I see … I will not believe it.”
When I read this story once more in the context of the aids pandemic, poverty, drought in the Western Cape and also the cruel murders that recently took place close to where I live, it gave me a completely different perspective: Thomas, who is shunning the company of the rest of the disciples, is a Thomas who has lost hope.
When he refers to Jesus in his conversation with the disciples, he talks about the wounds that have been inflicted upon Jesus. The nailmarks in his hands, the disfigurement of his side.
If you have seen “The Passion of the Christ” or a similar depiction of the gruesome crucifixion of Jesus, you may be able to understand something of what Thomas experienced. He had to watch his Master being denied, dehumanised, mutilated and murdered. All this must have shocked Thomas deeply and torn all hope from his mind by its very roots. He probably would have agreed with the lament of the twosome on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:20-21) when they said, “The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since this took place.”
When we are confronted with the magnitude and impact of crises like the aids pandemic and the wave of poverty sweeping over Africa, our hope is also in danger of being crushed. When HIV and AIDS become a personal reality, this probability becomes even bigger.
But the time of Easter Sunday and the weeks that follow is a time in which hope relives. The powerful act of God who raised his Son from the grave, brings new hope (living hope) in our hearts (1 Pet 1:3). Jesus saves Thomas from his hope-less condition by appearing to him as the living Christ.
In the midst of the aids pandemic that is threatening to extinguish our hope, we need this hope that is anchored in the knowledge that Jesus’ grave is empty, that our Father pulled him from the grip of death “according to the working of his great might” (Eph 1:19), that He is with us as the Living Christ under all circumstances.
Author: N du Toit (Ds)