UNBELIEF AND HARDNESS OF HEART

“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.”
Mark 16:14

The humanity of the disciples helps us deal with our own blunders. Our text is a case in point. One would think that they should have been prepared for the resurrection that followed the crucifixion of the Savior. They were familiar with the Old Testament, which prophesied His triumph over death and the grave. Jesus repeatedly taught them that He would rise three days after His death. And yet, when the news began to spread that Jesus had risen from the dead, the disciples were slow to believe.

They did not accept the initial report from Mary. They did not believe the testimony of the men who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Our Scripture tells us that Jesus “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” Our Lord reproved them for their failure to believe those who testified of His resurrection. In one form or another, we have all been there. We have found ourselves doubting instead of believing. In essence, the disciples did not believe what they had been told concerning the resurrection of Christ.

I would not want to be reminded of all the times I have failed to believe some promise of God’s Word. I, too, have doubted when I should have believed. Think of all His wonderful promises to provide for us, to accept us, to protect us, to keep us, to empower us, to guide us, to comfort us, to love us, and to use us. Have you ever doubted any of His promises? Of course, we all have. God’s Word is the eternal truth and will always be completely trustworthy in every point. But we sometimes fail to believe what He says.

Like the disciples, we can have a “hardness of heart.” When our hearts are not tender to God’s truth and receptive to His Word, we will not believe as readily as we ought. This is something we should guard against. It is with our hearts that we believe His Word, and the heart can become calloused and insensitive. We want to be open to His Word and responsive to His direction. When our hearts are hardened by sin and disobedience, the natural inclination is to doubt God’s promises, instead of believing.