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November 19, 2015

Hope for Doubters

… when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen Him, they didn’t believe her. Mark 16:11 (NLT)

If you’ve ever doubted God in your life, you’re in good company! Looking back, it’s almost comical that the first doubters were Christ followers! You would think it would be the skeptics and religious leaders that had Him crucified! Mark’s Gospel tells us,

After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw Him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But, when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen Him, they didn’t believe her. Mark 16:9-11 (NLT)

As if the testimony of the two Mary’s was not enough, Mark tells us that Jesus later appeared to two more of His followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.

They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. (Vs. 13)

Before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples, on three separate occasions, that He would be crucified and rise again on the third day. He instructed them to meet Him in Galilee after His resurrection. In fact, the angel that the women saw in the empty tomb reminded them of what Jesus had said. Instead of going to Galilee, though, the disciples hid in an upper room in Jerusalem. Imagine their shock when Jesus appeared in that upper room with the doors and windows locked! Thomas was the last holdout. Despite the testimonies of the women, the two on the road to Emmaus, and the rest of the disciples in the Upper Room, Thomas refused to believe until He saw Jesus for himself!

I find it encouraging that the Bible lets us in on the doubts of these disciples. I also find it encouraging that, despite Jesus’ instruction to meet Him in Galilee, He came to where His disciples were and met them in an upper room in Jerusalem. For the record, they did later meet in Galilee. Matthew’s record says,

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Matthew 28:16-17 (NLT)

Regarding their doubts, Pastor John MacArthur commented,

“That simple phrase inserted by Matthew is but one of countless small and indirect testimonies to the integrity of Scripture. In transparent honesty, the gospel writer sets forth the incident as it actually happened, with no attempt to make it more dramatic or convincing than it was. As he portrayed Jesus in His divine perfection, he also portrayed Jesus’ followers, including himself, in their human imperfection.”

There’s hope for doubters. If we’re honest with our doubts, Jesus will meet us right where we are and lead us to unquestionable faith!