Jesus Christ gave His believers the weapon to use through faith in their trying times and difficult circumstances.
By Mpumelelo Mtshawu
John 20:19 & 22 “Jesus said to them ‘Peace be with you and Receive the Holy Spirit’”
The disciples were not rejoicing because they chose doubt over faith. Doubt is explained as uncertainty due to contradictory stories or conclusions. I like the definition because it means someone must first hear a story/stories and then decide which one to believe.
The disciples were afraid because the chief priests and elders changed the story of the tomb guards according to St Mathew`s analogy (Mathew 28 vs 11 – 15). They accused the disciples of coming through in the night to steal the body of Jesus Christ, whilst the woman came and told them that Christ is risen and instructed them to go and meet him in Galilee.
During this Covid-19 lockdown we are called by the government to start changing our human behaviour. You may be asking yourself what it is that I am talking about this Tuesday after Pentecost and why mention John chapter 20 vs 19 and 20.
Firstly as Christians we are faced with decision-making every day of our lives. The story above should help us to examine ourselves in terms of our faith. Which story do you believe this evening the one of Pentecost which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit according to Sunday`s readings? Or the one you get from social media and the TV news about the future of the church and its significance in the society? On the day of Pentecost, ordinary people like us received the Holy Spirit and this helps us to remember the words echoed by St Paul as a thanksgiving to the Thessalonians` faith. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance”.
Our country is faced with much despair and it is difficult for Christians to continue placing their hope in Jesus. The Covid-19 pandemic is discouraging to most of them because it is accompanied by lack of employment, which will lead to starvation, rising poverty and increase in crime. How do we live with our feet on the ground while still placing our hope in Jesus Christ? For many it is impossible. Their hope for a better future under God`s rule fluctuates with current circumstances. Because Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to help us in times of need and the promise that He will come again, we must look forward in faith and in endurance because our hope is not determined by the events around us, but the promises of God and His final victory over evil.
We believe that Jesus Christ will come in glory and power and that He will establish His kingdom in all its glory. We are called to persevere in hope as Christians because the Bible promises us that greater achievements are possible. We must look at daily problems and see the magnificence of a triumphant God. We are called to persevere in hope because we both have food for the soul, which the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Jesus Christ, and the sword for our current struggles, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Amen