May 5, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today 

“Help My Unbelief”

Mark 16:9-14

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. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 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.

As someone who has primarily attended non-denominational churches, I am more familiar with contemporary worship songs than classic hymns. However, the few hymns I have sung always resonate with me due to the weightiness of their lyrics. Most recently, I heard “Trust and Obey” for the first time during commencement and was struck by the simple yet straightforward truth in the chorus: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

In today’s passage, we read that the disciples heard multiple testimonies of Jesus’ resurrection from Mary Magdalene (v.10) and other disciples (v.12). Yet the disciples did not believe these accounts (v.11,13) and were eventually rebuked by Jesus for their lack of faith (v.14). It is important to note that Jesus’ rebuke was not given in a vacuum, for Mark 8-10 alone details three separate instances when Jesus taught about His death and resurrection (Mark 8:31; 9:30-31; 10:33-34). Nevertheless, the disciples stubbornly refused to believe (v.14) the joyous news until Jesus appeared to rebuke them. Simply put, the disciples failed to trust in Jesus and His word.

When I first became a Christian, I remember being amazed at the disciples’ lack of faith, despite spending three full years with Jesus. But as time passes, I only realize more and more how that same lack of faith resides within me.  Despite God’s provision throughout my life, I find myself becoming anxious when thinking about the future or certain vocational decisions. Despite witnessing His healing touch, I question God’s ability to restore deeper wounds that have been uncovered in myself and others. And despite confessing that Christ is the only way to salvation, I catch myself trusting in my “good works” instead of the cross to justify myself. Perhaps you are familiar with some of these things.

For those of us struggling with unbelief, may we cry out, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). May faith, one of the promised fruit of the Spirit, arise in us today, as we are powerless to grow in faith on our own.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your resurrection and for Your victory over sin, Satan and the world. I confess that at times, I lack faith in Your goodness and in Your resurrection power. I confess that at times, I feel overwhelmed by the darkness I see, forgetting that in the darkness, Your light shines the brightest. Help my unbelief and strengthen my faith today. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 2-3

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