“Now when [Jesus] rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene … But when they heard that He was alive … they would not believe it. … He appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves … and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.'” (Mark 16:9a, 11, 12b-13-15)
Mark 16:9-20 are the added verses of Mark—the extra endings that we can’t be absolutely sure if Mark really wrote them or not, or if they were someone’s extra notes. That’s why your Bible will have a note or footnote to tell you so.
But there’s one thing that rings very true in these extra verses, and that is the fact that people just won’t believe it when they hear that Jesus is alive again! Time after time, they ignore the messengers. They laugh at the eyewitnesses. They are sure that even God could not do such a thing.
And that’s the way it is for us today, isn’t it? Only the Holy Spirit, God Himself, can bring us to believe this incredible but wonderful story. He is the One who is working when we hear that God loved us so much He became a Man—grew up, lived and cared for people, and finally suffered and died for us on a cross—and then rose from the dead. We do not believe because we are so smart or faithful. We believe because God is living in us, bringing us to know Him—and then sending us out to share the Good News of Jesus with others.
Prayer: Lord Holy Spirit, strengthen my faith, and use me so others will come to trust in Jesus. Amen.
* Tell about a time when you had a hard time believing something wonderful.
* In what way did you become a believer in Jesus?
* Pick one person you know who is not a believer and pray for him or her.
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted from Lutheran Hour Ministries
(To view the entire “Lenten Devotions” mini-series, please click here.)