“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 been resurrected. Then He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is immersed will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’” Mark 16:14-16 (HCSB)
A pastor friend of mine recounted this experience at the national convention of his church’s denomination. The convention was held in Las Vegas, and at the beginning of the week, the city’s mayor came to welcome the pastors. The president of the convention asked the mayor if the city had a need the pastors could lift up in prayer.
The pastor answered, “Well, as you know, Las Vegas is in the desert. We sure could use some rain.”
The pastors prayed for rain and thanked the mayor as he waved & left.
The next morning, when the keynote speaker was introduced, he laid an umbrella on the pulpit. All the pastors chuckled because there was not a cloud in the sky.
“Pastors,” he began, “You should be ashamed! Yesterday we prayed for rain, and not a single one of you brought an umbrella today.”
Similarly, the disciples had heard Jesus predict His suffering and rising from the grave; but none believed the reports of His resurrection.
When Jesus appeared to the remaining eleven disciples (Judas had hung himself), the first thing He did was rebuke their unbelief. Ask yourself, if Jesus was to visit you today, how well do you think He would rate your faith? It’s a little scary to think about, huh?
What I love about today’s passage is how Gracious Jesus was. He didn’t continue rebuking and shaming them once they had gotten His point. Instead, He encouraged them to face the same type of challenge they had each failed.
Take Peter, for instance. After denying Jesus three times, Peter repented and preached the Gospel boldly, even unto death. And Peter wasn’t alone in his martyrdom.
Are you heeding Jesus’ “Great Commission”? I hope so! But if you have fallen short of His challenge, take courage!! Let’s stand back up, repent, dust ourselves off, and get back to sharing the truth He reveals as we commit ourselves to read & live out His Word!
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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