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April 16

Mark 16:9-14

9 Early on the first day of the week, after he had risen, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with him, as they were mourning and weeping. 11 Yet, when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it. 12 After this, he appeared in a different form to two of them walking on their way into the country. 13 And they went and reported it to the rest, who did not believe them either. 14 Later he appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw him after he had risen. — Mark 16:9-14

WHAT IS GOING ON? This is unbelievable! Could it be?

by Tommy Sanders
West Franklin Campus

Have you ever heard about something so incredible you had to see it to believe it? I remember hearing about 911 on the radio, and I could not imagine someone flying a jet airliner into a building. I wanted to see it to fully comprehend what I had heard. You have probably heard about people who could not believe someone walked on the moon and who even doubted what they saw on television.

Now, what about someone rising from the dead? My reaction might have been:

   Yeah, right! Gotta see that one for myself!

   NO, how about more substantial proof? How about getting to touch them?

Think about it, and don’t be too quick to throw Thomas and the other disciples ‘under the bus.’ This was unbelievable!

Mark’s account focuses on the disciples’ unbelief. They did not believe Mary Magdalene. They did not believe the two from the Emmaus road. Then when Jesus appeared to them, “They still couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.” (Luke 24:41, The Message)

Jesus did not cut them any slack. Mark says He rebuked them. In Luke 24 Jesus says, “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your minds?...This is what I told you.” Yet with His rebuke, He offered evidence and assurance. “Touch me and see.” And He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures telling them what was written about Him.

John took five chapters to describe the evening Jesus spent preparing His disciples for what would transpire: His arrest, His death and His resurrection. Were they listening? Did they not comprehend what they heard? We might want to “throw them under the bus” for their doubts. But let’s bring it home. How do we measure up?

Recently in worship, we sang a song with these lyrics: “I believe in You, I believe in You, You’re the God of miracles.” Yet in the face of a miracle, would we be naysayers until we have undeniable proof? Would we dismiss it as too good to be true? The resurrection is the greatest miracle ever recorded! Notice that Jesus gave the disciples assurance and proof as they were processing what happened.

In 1995, I was part of a mission team that went to Guatemala. We spent an hour setting up our power tools in an outside courtyard to build church pews. We were ready to start work when a large black cloud moved in and drops of rain began to fall.

As we pondered our options, one of our members said, “We need to pray.” We gathered together and prayed. The rain stopped. We worked all day outside in the shade of the cloud without rain. At the end of the day we put our tools into the lock-up. As soon as we closed the door, it began to rain. Was that a miracle? God confirmed it to us, by starting the rain at the exact time as the door closed. Sometimes we need confirmation.

Praxis

  1. The scripture today exposes the struggle we have believing what we cannot orchestrate or see. But in Luke we also find Jesus offering assurance and understanding. Is He the God of miracles? Seek Him with all your heart, and let Him confirm it for you!
  2. In Mark 9, a father asks Jesus to heal his son saying, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus responds, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the father says, “I believe—help me overcome my unbelief.” He is the God of miracles! Celebrate the TRUE miracle of His resurrection, and ponder its meaning for you!
April
16