Mark 16:14 “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”
It is funny how we look back to the times of Jesus and wonder how it is that the disciples just didn’t get it. They witnessed such miracles as the feeding of the five thousand; the withered hand made whole; the blind receiving sight; the deaf to hear and the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Yet, when their Master was taken and accused – they fled.
It seems natural for us to criticize those men who followed Him those three and a half years. We begin to feel a bit arrogant about how we would have acted; what we would have said; where we would have gone and how our faith would not have faltered. Yet, few of us have undergone the persecution and the spiritual warfare to such a degree as was present that day.
All of Satan’s armies must have been present that day to get Jesus to fail. All Satan needed to do was to get Jesus to miss a command, follow His own path, do what He wanted instead of the will of the Father. Yet, the resolution presented in the face of direct confrontation; the utter rebuke at the temptations given Him, proved to the devil that he had his work cut out for him.
Unable to move Jesus, he began his assault on His disciples. Toward the end, Satan saw Peter most vulnerable and the key to bringing them all down. One of Jesus’ inner circle and most loyal followers would be a trophy on the devil’s mantle if he could make him fall.
We see the play that was made for that very scene to play out:
Luke 22:31-34 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”
And denied Him he did! Peter felt such shame and remorse that he quite literally gave up. When the news was sent to tell the disciples of the resurrection, it was said:
Mark 16:7 “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”
Their faith was tested; tried and all failed.
Unbelief can be measured as to how long we remain in a state of disbelief. Peter fell; denied Christ, and went back to his old ways. He went back to being a fisherman. At the time when Jesus came to the seaside, Peter was probably at his lowest ebb of faith.
The conversation that took place after they had caught a netful at Jesus’ bidding was very telling as to the Lord’s intent. He was there to restore Peter back to service. Unbelief had taken him all the back to the beginning.
Unbelief also hardens our hearts to the things of God; the preaching of His Word, prayer, service, reading, meditating and witnessing. We are easily offended and rise up to advocate for those people and things we value.
Yet, when our faith has begun to wane, and our spirit is on a low ebb, we seem to consent to the worldly. Why is that?
Our faith must rise to rebuke the apathy and the deadness of our soul. It is those desires that rise up in us that pushes God the curb as we go after the fleshly. We must adopt principles to live by that aid us in times like these.
“If God’s against it, so am I.”
RU Recovery is a faith-based addiction program that helps addicts and those affected by addicts to find the power to overcome their addictions. This principle is derived from scripture.
Galatians 5:19-24 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
My faith must rise in the face of my own unbelief to take hold of what it is God has provided me to combat my own unbelief.
Jesus knew Peter’s faith was going to be tested and have the opportunity to fail. But Jesus told Peter that He was going to pray that his faith fails not. The denial was already a foregone conclusion. Peter was definitely going to deny Christ. What he did – or was going to do once he failed was the tipping point.
What is our tipping point?
For some, it is a wound received at the hand of a friend; a loved one; or even our Pastor. We use that hurt to justify our disobedience and unbelief. Many never recover when they take this position. It is as if they carry this bucket to collect all the wounds they have ever encountered and mounted their case as to why they can no longer serve as God called them.
I have always adopted the belief that if you are still alive and breathing on this earth, God is not done with you. You and I have works to accomplish, and until those are completed, we will remain here to finish them.
God has given us the antidote for every ill we may ever encounter.
The antidote for unbelief is faith. We must do whatever it takes to build our faith.
Jude 20-21 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We have only one place to look for the cure to our unbelief.