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Mark 16.14-18; Jesus Commissions the Disciples

Kai’s small group was studying Paul’s letter to the Romans. Several people in the group shared what they thought a particular passage meant. The group leader turned to Kai who had been unusually quiet and asked, “Do you have anything you might want to add Kai.” Kai shook his head. “I do know,” he said, “I just don’t understand at all what Paul is trying to say.” The group leader laughed and said, “Well Kai, you’re in the company of a lot of faithful Christians. Many people can’t understand what Paul is trying to say.” Lamar sat down with his pastor and said, “I don’t get this Holy Communion thing. Why do we celebrate communion every week? Is it really necessary?” Lamar’s pastor responded with a lengthy explanation of the importance of communion. Lamar shook his head and said, “Sorry pastor, I still don’t get it.”  His pastor smiled and said, “That’s okay Lamar. May I suggest that you don’t stop celebrating communion. Come forward when you want to. Sometime in the future you’ll start to see why the Lord’s Supper is meaningful to you, and then you’ll understand.”

Jesus finally appeared to the disciples. He chided them for not believing Mary Magdalene or the two disciples who had told the other disciples that they had seen Jesus. That’s true to form for the disciples. They had to have parables explained to them and they were slow to comprehend who Jesus was. The great thing was that Jesus didn’t give up on them. Jesus worked with the disciples until they were able to believe. Once they had believed, Jesus then sent them out to be his witnesses.

Struggling with doubts is a part of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit leads us beyond our comfort zones we usually doubt if we are doing the right thing or if God will really come through and not desert us. There are some theological points that we haven’t figured out and some doctrines with which we simply don’t agree. God doesn’t through God’s hands up in despair and give up on us. Rather, the Holy Spirit continues to work within us. The Spirit shapes us increasingly into God’s image and at the same time helps us to grow in our knowledge, understanding and wisdom. In the middle of our doubts and while the Spirit is still working on us, Jesus sends us out to be his disciples and to share the good news along with God’s love and grace to the people around us.

Mark 16:14-18

Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, 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 good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”