To Believe is to ‘See’

Mark 16: 9-15
Acts 4: 13-21 / Psa 118

He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart…
(Mark 16:14)

We must not doubt the Promised Word,
Which will make the Holy Spirit grieve;
He’ll make us see to be assured,
So why is it so hard to believe?

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom He had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been His companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that He was alive and that she had seen Him. After this, He showed Himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either. Lastly, He showed Himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had refused to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation. (Mark 16:9-15)


Jesus said to Thomas in another Gospel, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn. 20:29). In a sense we who believe in Jesus and His Resurrection are more blessed than Thomas and the other disciples, because we have never seen Jesus and yet believe. But why couldn’t they believe the testimony of Mary Magdalene and the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus? Perhaps it was because in their state of loss and despair they had forgotten or doubted what the Lord had promised them before His death – that He would rise again on the third day. Thus they were rebuked by our Lord for their unbelief and hardness of heart. And yet, even in their unbelief, the Lord still put His faith in them. Their faltering hearts would soon be fortified by the power of the Holy Spirit, as the Lord breathed the Spirit into them, commissioning them to go and proclaim the Good News of salvation throughout the world.

Like the once doubting apostles, we have also been called by our risen Lord to spread the Good News through our renewal community. He has commissioned us to “Go and bear fruit,” and His Holy Spirit now empowers us in this mission.

In the past, we also had our moments of weakness, when we doubted God’s provident nature in answering our prayers and addressing our concerns. But ever since we embraced the Word of God, which is the culture professed in our Brotherhood, we have learned to trust God for all our needs, and to entrust to Him our lives, to re-design according to His will. As St. Paul advised, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philipp. 4:6) Like Mary Magdalene, whose deep love for Jesus transformed her life, we too have learned that if we must be pleasing to God, we must put our full trust in His miraculous love. By our firm faith we have seen the transforming power of God’s love in the lives of so many. We do not have to see with our eyes to believe.

Forgive us, Lord, whenever we doubt your love, or our capacity to follow Your Will. Help us to realize that in our mission there is no such thing as “can’t” or “won’t” when we are working for Your glory. Grant us the wisdom and humility to accept what we cannot understand, that we may put our full trust in You. AMEN.

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