Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mark 16:14-20 (John 20:19-23)

“Mary, you have been crying too much. Go home, and rest.”
The unbelieving disciples refused to accept the testimony of a woman. If Jesus was truly resurrected, He would show Himself to them, not some hysterical handmaid.
When the two travelers returned late that Sunday evening from Emmaus, their testimony seemed a bit sketchy.
“So, you walked with Him for how many miles before you realized you were talking to Jesus?”
The skeptical disciples were certain that these two would have recognized Jesus immediately. Perhaps there was someone out there pretending to be the risen Jesus, but they had seen with their own eyes His beating and execution. People didn’t make a three day recovery from the abuse of the Romans. The Romans had driven rusty spikes through His ankles. If He was recovering, He certainly wouldn’t be strolling down to Emmaus.
The stories all seemed too strange, so the disciples refused to believe. They had been known to be His followers, and their lives were in danger. Days of certain persecution were coming, and these disciples had bigger things to worry about and plan than whether or not some wishful dreams of a few overly-emotional disciples were true.
Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the room. Staring on in disbelief, the experience was highly personal for each of the disciples. All felt a level of surprise, but the joy of the moment was clouded by guilt and shame. Peter had sworn to Jesus just days before that he would never betray Him. Now, in the deepest part of Peter’s soul was a nauseous feeling that told him, “Jesus already knows what you did.” One by one they had all forsaken Him.
The shame of the previous days events blended with the embarrassment for their disbelief on this day. He had sent Mary Magdalene, and in coldness they had scorned and dismissed her claims. The two from Emmaus had testified so clearly, and these disciples had scoffed at what seemed like a far-fetched account. Now, staring into the eyes of Jesus, all of that reality came rushing back like a raging river of shame.
“Peace be unto you.” Jesus always knew the thoughts of the disciples’ hearts. He had not come to abuse them or to shame them. He had come to give them hope. He had made it clear that He loved them. They had nothing to fear. He would melt away their disbelief and replace it with confidence. These deserters would be given a second chance. These doubters would be given faith. Jesus was a loving, forgiving Savior.
He was alive. They were sure of it. They had seen it with their own eyes. They had heard Him with their own ears. The days of disbelief and doubting were past. The days of hope and purpose had come. Now, these disciples would become His ambassadors to the whole world. They would bear out His gospel, telling the whole world how that in His death He had brought new life to all mankind.

Food For Thought: Read John 20:19-29. What is the difference between the two appearing of Jesus to His disciples?