How often do you miss what is right in front of you: the cell phone on the kitchen counter; the friend you pass without noticing in the grocery store; the question you don’t hear because you are engrossed in something you are reading online? Throughout the book of Mark, Jesus challenged his disciples to have eyes to see and ears to hear so that they could understand who was standing right in front of them. Jesus wanted them to have the faith to understand and believe that he was the promised Messiah. As we close the book of Mark, did the disciples finally understand who was right in front of them?
- Ask God to give you eyes to see and ears to hear the truth of today’s message.
READ THE WORD: MARK 16:9-20 (ESV)
9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- How did the disciples respond to reports that Jesus was alive (vss. 11, 13)?
- What did Jesus rebuke the disciples for in verse 14? Immediately after rebuking the disciples, what did Jesus instruct them to do (vs. 15)? How did the disciples respond, and whose help did they have (vs. 20)?
- Whose testimony about Jesus did God use to bring you to faith? Did you believe their testimony right away?
- Although the disciples failed to believe the testimony of those who had seen Jesus, he instructed them to testify to what they had seen as they proclaimed the gospel throughout the world. How have you seen Jesus work through you to proclaim the gospel to others? To whom are you called to share the gospel?
RESPOND TO GOD
Firsthand reports of Jesus’ resurrection did not convince the disciples that he was alive. Jesus had to open their eyes and ears, and give them the faith to believe. He does the same for us when he gives us the faith to believe the testimonies of Christians who have come before us. Jesus’ resurrection is a miracle that attests to his ability to accomplish the greater miracle—the redemption of sinful humanity. The continuing miracle is that Jesus, while seated at the right hand of God, uses imperfect people—you and me—to continue his work on earth by empowering us to share the gospel message with the world.
- Thank God that he sent Jesus to redeem you, and thank him for the faith he gives you to believe.
- Ask God to show you who you need to share your testimony with, and trust Jesus to work through you to confirm his message of redemption to those who believe.