“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.”
It is impossible to fully comprehend the emotional and spiritual upheaval that the disciples found themselves in at the time of the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection. Although they had been warned many times about His impending trial and death, they did not take those lessons to heart. They forgot the things they had heard. After three sorrowful days and nights, the news came to them that Jesus was alive, but they were very slow to believe it. Rather than rejoicing in the victory of the vicarious death of the Lamb of God and His bodily resurrection, they were consumed with doubt and defeat.
It is not at all uncommon for people to believe things that are negative and even untrue, while at the same time finding it difficult to believe the promises of God. Those closest to Christ struggled in this same way, and were rebuked by Jesus for “their unbelief and hardness of heart.” How could it be that they were so full of doubt? After all the warnings and teachings of our Lord, how could they be so slow to believe? Perhaps a more relevant question for us might be, “How is it that we so often doubt His promises to us?”
The Bible is filled with wonderful promises to every child of God: not just promises about His resurrection, but also promises about His provision, and power. He has assured us of His abiding presence, His endless supply of wisdom, and His power to witness. We have been guaranteed grace for every trial, and strength for every mile. Yet, we have all found ourselves filled with worry and doubt rather than simple and dynamic faith in God and His Word. Like the disciples, there are times we must admit the sin of our own unbelief.
Why must we doubt? In reproving the disciples, Jesus upbraided them for their “hardness of heart.” Their unbelief was an indication of something amiss in their hearts. Faith is fostered in a humble heart that is submissive and responsive to the Word of God. Hearts that are hardened because of sin, pride, and the influence of the world will not be apt to rely wholly upon God and His truth. In guarding our hearts, and keeping them yielded and pure, may we be filled with sincere faith to believe God.