Mark 16:1-15 – “rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart because they did not believe”

Some stories are hard to believe. Sometimes it is because the person telling the story is not very credible. Sometimes it is because the story has events or situations that just don’t quite line up with what seems logical. Jesus had been tortured and left to die on a wooden cross in the presence of many witnesses. All their future hopes and dreams of ending Roman rule and building a great spiritual awakening seemed to be destroyed in that moment. It was a time of deep sorrow, grief, confusion, chaos, and mourning. Then 3 days later, you have one woman (previously possessed by 7 demons) begin this story of seeing the resurrected Jesus. Maybe they thought she was so disturbed by the situation that she fell into her old demon-possessed ways and was seeing crazy things. But then you have two men as they were trying to make sense of the situation and figure out how Jesus could have died in the first place (since Jesus was a powerful prophet with God and was to be the hope of Israel), they were visited by the resurrected Jesus Himself. This time, the source was credible but their story just became harder to explain. The way God works is often hard to explain. When Jesus showed Himself to the larger group, He rebuked their unbelief. These people had seen the miracles before (such as raising Lazarus from the dead and healing the blind man) and Jesus even told them this would happen before it happened; but even for them, this was unbelievable. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to take away the sins of the world. Jesus needed them to believe this so they would go out and tell others. If they didn’t believe, they wouldn’t share this truth. And if they wouldn’t share this truth, others would never know that they could have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life with God because of what Jesus Christ had just done. Your belief or unbelief could be the path or the door closed in someone else’s discovery of God’s love. Your belief or unbelief isn’t just your problem. Are you staying or are you going? What do you believe?

Prayer Starter: Jesus Christ, I am amazed that You would show me so much grace and mercy as You took away my sins. It is amazing to believe that You would do that and also amazing that You were able to come back to life from the grave. You displayed Your power over sin and Satan and death. It is hard for my mind to wrap around that truth. I know it was difficult even for those who knew You when it happened. I am thankful that they didn’t keep that message to themselves. Forgive me for not believing strong enough to tell others about Your love and forgiveness. Give me courage today to talk to one person about their belief, to invite them to believe in You, and to invite them to join other believers at church. Amen.

You’re reading a devotion from the Easter Devotional Plan 2016. For the rest of the 40 day plan, visit here.