Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
Today’s passage explores the scene as the Lord met with His eleven apostles for the first time following His resurrection. The word afterward pinpoints the timing of the passage as having occurred after He had appeared to others. For instance, the Lord had already appeared to Mary Magdalene. She told the disciples the great news of Christ’s resurrection, but the Bible says that they did not believe her. Shortly thereafter, the Lord appeared directly to the apostles and scolded them for their “unbelief and hardness of heart.” A heart that is tender serves as fertile ground for faith. However, a hardened heart does not allow the seed of faith to grow. Mark 6:52 confirms this principle as it points out that “they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” Hardness of heart prevented faith in the disciples during that time and will do the same now in any believer who fails to remain tenderhearted.
- (For children): When the people were told to possess the promised land after seeing God’s power and miracles, they chose to send in spies to search out the land for themselves. Twelve men entered the land, but only two of them believed God. The other ten men gave a bad report. These disobedient men all died in a plague shortly after and never lived in the promised land.
- (For everyone): Do you find it difficult to consistently trust the Lord? Is it easier for you to doubt than to believe the promises of God? If so, it is likely that your heart has become hardened.
- The disciples saw multiple miracles from the Lord, but continually struggled with faith. Faith is not a matter of sight, but a matter of the heart. A hardened heart sprouts forth doubt and despair.
- Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith.
- Ask the Lord to help you see the role of the heart in faith.
Song: Faith Is the Victory