Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. ~Mark 16:14
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest miracle ever that attests to the veracity of Jesus being God, the Word of God being true, and the hope of life that is eternal beyond the grave. We are told in Acts 1:3 that Jesus showed Himself alive "by many infallible proofs." If you were alive at the time when Jesus rose from the dead, do you think that you would have had a difficult time believing this, as some of the disciples did? This morning, we want to consider one of the more challenging aspects of the Christian life: having an unmovable faith in God’s power.
We see the phenomenon of the resurrection.
On the third day after Jesus was crucified and gave up the ghost, the angel of God came down from Heaven, rolled the massive stone away from the entrance, and our Lord arose victoriously out of the tomb. The linen that His body was wrapped in was lying on the slab and did not show evidence that it was taken off: the body came right through it. The napkin wrapped around His head was neatly folded and laid next to the linen. The angel declared, “He is not here; for he is risen.” Yes, the greatest phenomenon in history had occurred. Jesus arose victoriously from the dead. He is alive!
We see the faithless reservation.
On two different occasions, the eyewitnesses who saw Him declared this to the disciples, but in both cases, they believed not. The word of Mary Magdalene was not believed. The word of two who walked the road to Emmaus with Him was likewise not believed. Even though the disciples were told repeatedly by Jesus that He would rise again from the dead on the third day, they did not believe. Unbelief is an unwillingness to accept what you have been told. It is a rejection of given information. Unbelief paralyzes our faith. Unbelief immobilizes a church. Unbelief hinders any work of faith. Unbelief is a complete unacceptance of the witness of another and does not seek to confirm the veracity of this witness. The disciples were grief-stricken, ashamed, and defeated in their spirit. They would not believe what they had heard because to them, it was impossible, even for Jesus!
We see the formal reprimand.
Jesus came to them and upbraided, or rebuked, them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. They had been told over and over again that Jesus would rise from the dead by His own accord on the third day. They had revealed truth. They had the verifiable word from the Living Word Himself. He rebuked them for their hardness of heart. We must be careful of the influences that harden our heart against the mighty works of God. Grief, suffering, trauma, loss, bitterness, anger, and selfishness can harden us. No wonder Jesus upbraided them! Unbelief is no different from having an atheistic attitude. It falsely assumes that God is weak, unwilling, or unconcerned about us.
We see the fervent responsibility.
Jesus used this moment to give the disciples the responsibility that every Christian has: the propagation of the gospel message! The resurrection is not to be kept secret. It is the infallible proof and witness that changes lives. For over 2,000 years, the message of Jesus' death and resurrection has been the only hope for the forgiveness of sin and the assurance of everlasting life. We, like the original disciples, have been given the responsibility of telling others about the good news that Jesus saves!
Are you telling people the greatest news ever? Don’t allow the influences of this life to corrupt and canker your heart from being a powerful witness of Jesus' death and resurrection!
Have a resurrection-empowered God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Samuel 28-31