September 08, 2020 – Tuesday
Mark 16:9-14 NIV
9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons.
10 She went and told those who had been with Him and who were mourning and weeping.
11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they did not believe it.
12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.
13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
One commentary names this section, The Incredulous Disciples, a great title for they seemed to find it so difficult to believe Jesus was risen. Maybe this was in part that it was Mary Magdalene who told them what she had seen. Yet Mark writes He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. Jesus had spoken numerous times about the first being last and the last being first. Here we such an example for Mary Magdalene was a woman deeply involved in sin when she was demon possessed. And now, here she is forgiven, no demons, and she is the first to see the risen Christ.
What do we know of her? After Jesus cast out the seven demons, she became one of the Galilean women who ministered to Him, including the mothers of Jesus and John. She was also one of the Mary’s at the cross. (MacLaren’s Expositions) She was a faithful follower who believed when she saw the risen Christ.
More to the point, why was she not believed? Jesus had told His disciples three times in each of the three synoptic gospels He would die and rise on the third day. Now they had great faith in Jesus. They had seen His miracles. They had seen Him best the Pharisees and the teachers of the law numerous times in conversations where they had sought to trap Him. Yet, He was crucified and died an incredibly ugly death. A death so horrible they likely simply could not imagine Him rising from the dead.
It was not because it was Mary Magdalene who reported Him as risen. We know that because two others who had been on the road to Emmaus met Him, talked with Him, knew Him when He revealed Himself. Yet when they reported the risen Christ they still did not believe. Once again one wonders why they could not believe. I can only again fall back on the horror of the death by crucifixion.
Finally, in verse 14, Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Jesus was disappointed and rebuked them. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible tells us He rebuked them because, after all the evidence they had had of his resurrection, still they did not believe. This is a most important circumstance in the history of our Lord’s resurrection. Never were people more difficult to be convinced of anything than they were of that fact. And this shows conclusively that they had not conspired to impose on the world; that they had given up all for lost when he died; that they did not expect his resurrection; and all this is the strongest proof that he truly rose. They were not convinced until it was impossible for them longer to deny it.
God was (is) still in charge and the fact that They were not convinced until it was impossible for them longer to deny it, provides the strongest proof possible that He truly rose. The disciples were not sitting around anxiously awaiting news of Jesus rising on the third day. His crucifixion and death on the cross had dampened or extinguished any real belief they had that He would really rise on the third day. The disciple Thomas doubted still, even with the testimony of his fellow disciples. That is until Jesus appeared to Him a week later as we read in John 20:26-28, A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you! Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” That is when Jesus added a blessing for us, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. We, who have yet to see Jesus, yet believe, we are blessed!