“He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
It doesn’t take much to ruffle our feathers. We are quick to defend when self is at stake, and even argue our case before Law. Jesus acted differently, He understood His Father’s will. “By oppression and judgement He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgressions of my people, to whom the stroke was due? (Isaiah 53:8; Acts 8:32-33) Indeed, who knew why He was crucified and why He was silent?
His disciples did not understand until sometime after His resurrection. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, who Jesus saved from seven demons. She told others who “refused to believe.” (Mark 16:11) Again He appeared to two more, “And He said to them, ‘Oh foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and to enter His glory.” (Luke 24:25-26) Two witnesses to the risen Lord “went their way and reported it to others, but they did not believe them either.” (Mark 16:13)
“While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be to you.’ But they were startled and frightened and thought they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your hearts?'” (Luke 24:36-53) “He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed,” the two witnesses who came to them. (Mark 16:14)
To prove a point He ate some fish. He was flesh and bones! Jesus reminded them of what had been written in the Law of Moses, the prophets and Palms. “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.'” (Luke 24:45-48)
The apostle Paul recounted Jesus’ appearances to the Corinthians. “After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time…” (Corinthians 15:6) They had been gathered together by Divine appointment? The eleven disciples had an appointment too and departed to Galilee, “to a mountain Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.“ (Matthew 28:17) Of the eleven none still doubted, not even Thomas (John 20:27), that is why I believe the “doubtful” were some of the five hundred who had also been called.
They had been gathered to receive the Great Commission.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Regular folks just like us heard Christ’s word “go.” It is really not that hard to do once you leave doubt and self behind. There are so many ways to accomplish Christ’s command next door or across the oceans. The Spirit now speaks to many more than five hundred. “Go!” Jesus said He will be with us. It’s true, you just need to believe.
Father, there is so much to do preparing the bride to meet her Groom, and so little time to do it. What a relief it is to know that Your Spirit is working within us. Forgive us for our impatience. It is not because of lack of trust, We are impatient to see more of Your glory. Thank you for calling us to proclaim the gospel of Your Son. We ask in Christ’s name that You open more and more minds to understand the Scriptures.
“Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:18-29)