Daily Devotion for Tuesday 2nd April 2024

St Mark 16: 14 – 20

Later Jesus 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.’ So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Reflection

In continuation from yesterday’s devotion, Jesus finally appears to the eleven and rebukes them for “their unbelief and hardness of heart” (verse 14). He then commissions them to go “into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (verse 15), with the promise that those who believe and are baptised will be saved, while those who refuse to believe will be condemned (verse 16). Signs will accompany those who proclaim the gospel, including exorcisms, speaking in tongues, snake-handling, drinking poison, and healing the sick (verses 17–18). The final verses of this longer ending describe Jesus ascending into heaven and sitting at God’s right hand (verses 19), followed by the apostles, in obedience to his command, going out and preaching everywhere, “while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs” (verse 20).

Finally, they believed. And now they were to call others to believe. They were given a commission of universal significance. This really is an extraordinary challenge for His disciples to grasp the reality of seeing Jesus again, to believe, to accept and to follow. Despite the doubts and fears, the disciples were encouraged and promised. The mandate, the message, the marks, the miracles, and the mission became their priority after encountering Jesus. Their responsibility to carry forward what Jesus began, gradually strengthened their faith and it paved a way to make impossible things possible. We are called to take risks for the sake of the gospel regardless of where we are placed and be rest assured that the resurrected Jesus is with us. 

Prayer

Resurrected Lord, your presence changes us, challenges us and provides us opportunities to share and partake in the mission. May we continue to be confident and carry on the tasks within the church and in our community. Amen. 

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