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February 28, 2009
"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen" (Mark 16:14)
This verse is in the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark, after Easter. I remember reading this passage and thinking, "Go Jesus! You tell them! How could they be so faithless?" The disciples had met, worked, ate and listened to the words of the Gospel straight from His own mouth. How could they not believe He was alive? He told them he was going to rise. How could they not believe the Good News from their closest friends?
And if they were faithless, what hope is there for us? I mean, these were eyewitnesses to Jesus' life, and even their faith was challenged. Even though we can't meet Jesus face to face, maybe if there were ways that we could connect with him, we could meet Him, and strengthen our faith. For example, maybe there could be a book containing Jesus' history and teachings; a book that we could study and memorize? Or, what if there were writings passed down through the generations by other great believers? That would be a great way to help us meet Jesus. Oh, what if there were people like pastors, missionaries and teachers that made it their life's work to help others meet Jesus? Maybe there could be schools dedicated to teaching children in an environment that centers on Jesus? Oh, what if there was music that told the story of Jesus so even the very young, and the very frail could understand His story? I know! What if there were places that believers could unite together at once, to study, and learn and praise Him? Surely, if we had these things, we would not be as stubborn as those disciples! Our faith would be rock solid!
It kind of makes you feel sorry for the disciples, now doesn't it? Being an eyewitness-once-removed to an event doesn't necessarily give you the larger context and broader perspective that you need to fully appreciate a situation. Those disciples were blessed beyond measure to meet Jesus, but our church today is blessed beyond measure with the resources to help others meet Jesus.
Dear Lord, Forgive our unbelief. Forgive us for not using all the gifts you have given us to help us meet, and help others meet You. We thank you for your gift of redemption through your Son. Amen.