|Jesus appears to Mary - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "'He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.'" Mark 16:16
The word "believe" in one form or another occurs seven times in our reading. The dictionary defines believe as: "To have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so."
What did these disciples believe or disbelieve? There seem to be two matters:
- That Jesus had actually appeared to those who told of seeing Him.
- That Jesus was who He said He was and could do what He said He could do (implied by what he says in Mark 16:16).
Their belief or lack of it affected them in several ways:
1. It made a difference in their relationship with each other. I'm sure wedges appeared in their friendships when they didn't believe the accounts of the eye witnesses—Mary Magdalene and the Emmaus disciples.
2. It affected their own spiritual health and receptivity. Jesus "… rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart" - Mark 16:14.
3. Their belief or unbelief had the potential to determine their salvation and eternal destiny - Mark 16:16.
4. It affected their ability to do miracles. Jesus promised signs following and confirming the word preached to those who "'...believe...'" - Mark 16:17.
Before we're too hard on the disciples, though, let's look at ourselves. When we hear a story of an instant healing, or of someone having a vision, or of some unexplainable escape from disaster, do we believe the account, or in our hearts pooh-pooh it? Do we really believe that a person's faith in Jesus, or their disbelief, affects their eternal destiny? Do miracles confirm our ministry? Maybe we too are guilty of unbelief and hard hearts.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I confess I have been guilty of unbelief and having a hard heart. I want my faith to be an asset to Your Kingdom and the church. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.