I apologize upfront, as I am not reflecting on all of these passages this week due to time constraints. In Mark 16, I want to clue in on one thing in particular. UNBELIEF. All of the closest followers of Jesus, who have been near him throughout his ministry and have learned so much from him, cannot believe that He has risen from the dead. He only foretold this event for his entire ministry, yet, when it finally happened, they didn’t believe that it was possible. It wasn’t until they actually, physically, saw Him, that they FINALLY believed. And, yet, through all of their lack of belief, Jesus still commissioned them to do great things. They were commissioned to spread the Good News. They were to “ cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands,[e] and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Throughout the Bible, we come across stories of major characters who lacked faith, or who committed horrible acts against humanity. And, yet, despite their “deadly sins,” God still looked upon them with grace and gave them important jobs. Paul stands out to me. Specifically oversaw the execution of early Christians, and we know how God ended up using Paul. The disciples, who walked side by side with Jesus for 3 years, also lacked faith, even though they were regularly in His presence.
If God had grace on these people, despite their shortcomings, how much will his grace be for us. We also fall short on a regular basis. But there is hope because we have a God who loves us.
In closing, and going off script from today’s readings, I come to Philippians 4:4-8, part of the current Lenten study. Despite our shortcomings, be anxious for nothing. Instead, through prayer and supplication, make your feelings known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will be with you. Our faith may falter from time to time, but God will always be waiting for us to return to Him.