Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on July 13, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Mark 16:14-18 (NKJV)
16:14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
It may seem harsh when St. Mark records that Jesus “rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart.” However, their initial rejection is not simply unbelief, but includes a hardness of heart which rejects the truth, despite the preaching of the Word by eyewitnesses.
Jesus had sent the women and Mary Magdalene to His Apostles, but “they did not believe” (v.11). He also sent the Emmaus disciples to tell them He had risen from the dead, “but they did not believe them either” (v.13). This upbraiding is perfectly in order, because the Apostles despised the preached Word, and clung to their unbelief.
It is quite ironic that these same men, who do not believe the eye witnesses, were chosen by Jesus to be eyewitnesses of His ministry, in order that they might “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” And what is the purpose of this preaching of the Gospel? To create faith in the hearts of the hearers so that “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Preaching and baptism go together. Preaching creates faith, because “faith comes from hearing the message” (Rom. 10:17). Those who believe trust in God’s Word concerning holy Baptism.
Prayer: O God, who hast prepared for them that love Thee such good things as pass man’s understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward Thee that we, loving Thee above all things, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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