Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He Rebuked Their Unbelief

In Mark's version of the Easter story, Jesus appears to Magdalena in the morning and to the Emmaus disciples in the afternoon. Then he appeared to the Eleven in the upper room and "rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart."

As Pastor pointed out during chapel, we tend to hear the word rebuke and think of a scolding. "Shame on you! You didn't believe when Mary told you that I rose from the dead! For shame!"

But what does John tell us? Jesus appeared in the upper room and said, "Peace be to you."

Wait a minute. Where's the scolding? Where's the rebuke?

Isn't this more like the exorcism in baptism? ("Depart you unclean spirit, and make room for the Holy Spirit.") When Jesus speaks His word of mercy and love and forgiveness, that chases away the unbelief. The demons and the unfaith are rebuked so that the sinner is rescued from his hardness of heart.

That's some kind of "rebuke" -- a rebuke which draws in the rebuked-one for a hug and words of comfort and assurance.

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