Thursday, April 25, 2013


"Jesus appears to the eleven"
Artist unknown

Jesus appears to the eleven - artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 16:9-20

TO CHEW ON: "He appeared to the eleven as they sat at table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen." Mark 16:14

How sobering to be the object of Jesus' rebuke. This stern passage had me wondering about other times Jesus rebuked people. On doing a little study, I found at least six categories of rebukes (oneidizo: reproach, revile, suffer reproach, upbraid) that Jesus issued:

1. He rebuked the demonic. When a demon speaking through a demon-possessed man in the synagogue exposed and opposed Him, Jesus said, "Be quiet and come out of Him" - Mark 1:25.

2. He rebuked those who criticized the extravagant love showed to Him by others.
  • During the incident of Mary anointing His head with oil at Simon's dinner, Jesus rebuked Simon and all those critical to Mary's lavish demonstration of love. (Mark 14:6-9, also Luke 7:44 and John 12:7).
  • When Martha hosted Jesus in their Bethany home and complained that Mary wasn't helping, Jesus rebuked her for having chosen the wrong priorities  (Luke 10:41).

3. Jesus rebuked those who followed Him for selfish reasons:
  • He rebuked the people who followed Him simply because He had fed them (Luke 6:26).
  • He also rebuked a man who came to him trying to get his inheritance by having Jesus intervene on his behalf (Luke 12:14).

4. Jesus rebuked those (and these were His followers) whose weak faith made them powerless.
  • He scolded the disciples, calling them a "faithless and perverse generation" when they couldn't cast out a demon from an oppressed boy (Luke 9:41).
  • He also rebuked them when, in Gethsemane, they slept instead of watching and praying (Luke 22:46).

5. Jesus had many rebukes for those who didn't understand the part He played in God's plan. He rebuked His opponents for this:
  • The Scribes and Pharisees because they couldn't read the signs of the times (Matthew 16:3).
  • Those who questioned His authority to say, "Your sins are forgiven you..." to the paralyzed man (Mark 2:8).
  • The synagogue ruler for being more concerned with following man-made Sabbath-keeping than the well-being of a woman He healed (Luke 13:15).
But His disciples didn't understand His role either. He was no less harsh in rebuking them.
  • When Jesus prophesied His torture and death and Peter took Him aside, rebuking Jesus for saying those things, Jesus rebuked him right back, identifying the spirit behind Satan's words as satanic (Matthew 16:23, also Mark 8:33).
  • Jesus rebuked His followers for not getting the connection between His life and fulfilled prophecy in Luke 24:25.
  • Later when Peter tried to defend Him with a sword, Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the damaged ear (John 18:11).
  • Our focus verse today (Mark 16:14) would be another rebuke in this category. His eleven disciples, who had been with Him for almost three years, and who had heard what He taught and been eye-witnesses to all that He did, still remained cynical of the reports of those who had seen Him after His resurrection.

In Revelation when the resurrected Jesus gives John messages for the early churches, He gives a reason for His rebukes. It's because of His love: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Revelation 3:19).

I ask myself, am I in any of the above categories? Haven't I been guilty of criticizing the extravagant worship of some?  Haven't I been weak-faithed and powerless to do the things Jesus said His disciples would do? Haven't I sometimes been a cynic when it comes to believing eye-witness miracle testimonies?

What about you?

Let's welcome Jesus' love shown through constructive rebuke, and ask Him for faith and courage to change our ways.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus I know that I am as vulnerable to rebuke as were the people in Bible days. Please forgive me and show me my real self so I can grow as Your disciple. Amen.

MORE: Feast of St. Mark

Today the church celebrates the writer of the Gospel of Mark, known as St. Mark the Evangelist. The day's liturgy begins with this collect:

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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