The Apostles Who Didn’t Believe in Jesus

In the series that we’re finishing up at SonRise tomorrow, called “Just Walk Across the Room,” one of the things we’ve heard about frequently is that most people hear the Gospel a number of times before they cross the line of belief. Most Christians hear about salvation through Jesus Christ somewhere around a dozen times before they become believers.

The apostles of Christ are usually remembered as the heroes who wrote the New Testament and gave up their lives to tell people about the resurrected Jesus. But even they didn’t believe the Gospel the first time they heard it. Or the second. In fact, they didn’t believe until the risen Jesus Himself appeared to them… and gave them an earful for not believing earlier!

Mark 16:9-14 records these incidents for us. The first person to see Jesus after He rose from the dead was Mary Magdalene. She rushed to tell the apostles about it, but they didn’t believe her! That must have been so frustrating for her, to have seen and talked with the risen Christ and not even have His disciples believe her!

Then there was the famous instance which we commonly call the story of the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-34). Jesus appeared to these guys as well, but like Mary, no one believed them either.

Finally Jesus shows up and rebukes them for not believing. After all, He had told them exactly what would happen to Him, and that He would come back from the dead! But their hearts were hardened and they wouldn’t believe. Quite honestly, I probably would’ve responded the same way. If I’d been following Jesus for a few years and entrusted Him with all my hopes and dreams, and then He died, it would’ve pretty hard to get my hopes up again.

Anyway, most people don’t respond in faith the first time they hear the Gospel. Or the second, or the third…. But I find it encouraging that even the people who shared the Gospel with Jesus’ apostles had the door closed on them! Great things arose from the testimony of these earliest witnesses, and God can do great things with our efforts as well, even the ones that seem at first to be failures.

Published in: on March 24, 2007 at 7:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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