The Rebuking Christ, Mark 16:14
Mark 16:14, Afterward (after he walked to Emmaus) 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.
The Apostle John in the Revelation of Jesus Christ records Godís evaluation of seven churches.
And in these evaluations God is careful to praise the churches where they may honestly be praised but some are also rebuked for those things of which they lacked.
The church at Ephesus was stung with a truth that they had left their first love, while the church at Pergamos was faced with the charge toward those who held to the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes which God hated.
Thyatira could not let go of a Jezebel of a woman who called herself a prophetess seducing many and because of this compromise the church at Thyatira received terrifying rebuke from our Lord.
And Sardis was not spared for she was told by God that her works were not perfect before God and judgment was sure to come to an unrepentant church.
Philadelphia is spared the rebuke of Christ, instead hearing of an open door set before it that no man can shut and promises to be kept from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Sounds like the Rapture Church!
But woe unto the church of the Laodiceans who were not spared scorching words from the mouth of God for they heard of their lukewarm works which made God spew them out of his mouth.
This was report card time when for most of these churches it was read emí and weep day and Oh how much Godís rebuke ought to bring weeping.
I am reminded of the Apostle James, our Lordís half-brother who wrote under the inspiration of God by His Spirit in chapter 4 verses 8-10, that the Word of God will bring rebuke and affliction, and mourning and weeping.
For James commands us to: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
How powerful it is and how godly it is to draw nigh to God, to purify your hearts, to be afflicted and to mourn and weep for the end result will be a humble spirit a spirit whom God chooses to use for God always resists the proud and always gives grace to the humble.
So Jesus praises the churches but he also rebukes.
But after this discourse he makes sure we know why he does this.
For he says in Rev 3:19, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
God is love and rebuke is given to his children because he loves them.
This truth is paramount in our understanding of our Fatherís relationship to his disciples and to us here in this small body of believers.
For today, Satan, using his usual modus operandi, desires to overturn all that God has established.
Jesus said many hard sayings that make us uncomfortable.
But Satan has brought into our culture the idea of positive-ness.
It is an idea that all of our actions ought to be nice, a word by the way that does not appear in the Bible.
None of our actions are to make people uncomfortable for politeness and tolerance far outweigh the desire for truth and the fear of God.
Jesus Christ is our model for we are being made into the image of Christ.
If you study the Bible you need no reminder that our Lord corrected the errors of his enemies with very strong language which had no room for misinterpretation.
We are studying the Gospel of Mark and within its pages we find that Jesus also often rebuked his disciples in very uncomfortable ways.
But whatever kind of confrontation he used the end result he desired was bringing people to a saving knowledge of Himself and a walk pleasing to God.
It was always with the truth, As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.
He confronted out of compassion, which was moved by love.
Jesus was meek and lowly of heart but this does not mean that when rebuke was called for he cowered and held back so as to not hurt or to make uncomfortable.
Remember how Jesus confronted James and John when they spoke of being at the top in his administration.
He immediately humbled them by asking a pointed question causing them to remember their inability to accomplish what Jesus would do for them.
Mark 10:38, But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
Jesus was telling them that only He could make the way to heaven for all who believed in Him by drinking the bitter cup of the wrath of God at the cross for only He was worthy.
Remember how Jesus strongly corrected His disciples who were fearful for their lives and who in our thinking would need comforting words.
But no comforting words came from our Lord who said to the fearful group, O Ye of little faith.
Jesus Christ was relentless when it came to the subject of unbelief.
And what do you suppose Martha felt after she heard words of rebuke coming from the mouth of Christ after she had labored in the kitchen for hours while her sister just sat at Jesus feet.
Just imagine the frowns and scowls that came out of that kitchen aimed at Mary.
My how we would commiserate with Martha telling her how much we valued her service and how good a cook she was and how we were looking forward to eating a meal over which she had labored so long.
But this was not the response of Christ for Christ wants the best for Martha and in his response is the reminder to: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.
For Jesus said to Martha not words of comfort that we would offer but words that met the heart needs of Martha, words that would prepare her for eternity.
Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
And Jesus was not careful in hurting Peterís feelings on several occasions, one where he actually called Peter Satan.
And another where Peter seemed to express jealousy of John by telling him to stop thinking about how John will be used but instead just think about your relationship with me.
John 21:22, Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
And in our study of last week on the road to Emmaus Jesus was not careful with his words for unbelief again entered the scene.
The two who walked with him were sad because of unbelief and Jesus would have none of this saying in:
Luke 24:25-27, Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Christ did not bring comforting words to his traveling companions for the words he brought to them in the form of rebuke were words more valuable to their soul.
Comforting words at times are needed but what we, who are living in a body cursed of God need, are words that shake us up and bring us to the reality that doom awaits those who do not take hold of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
And unbelief will guarantee that result.
And though Jesus called them fools and slow of heart He was honest to them and they came to themselves and at the last said to one another:
Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
This is what rebuke will accomplish when it is applied in truth to a heart who loves truth.
So we go back to the Resurrection Day in our study, Jesus already having been seen by Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, Salome, Joanna and one other woman, then Simon Peter, then the two on the road to Emmaus and he now appears to the eleven.
So we would imagine this to be a glad and glorious occasion for certainly his rising from the dead calls for a great celebration and a time of great joy.
But what do we hear from Markís account of this first meeting with the eleven disciples, the eleven who accompanied Jesus Christ throughout Israel for the last three years and who for three days have been in misery because of the death of their Master.
Mark uses the word ďupbraidĒ to describe what happened.
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.
So instead of a celebration comes a hard word, the Greek word Oneidezo (On-i-did-zo) which means to defame, to rail at, to chide, taunt, reproach, revile, upbraid.
God never abides unbelief for unbelief is assuming on the part of the unbeliever the attributes belonging only to God.
So every reaction of Christ regarding unbelief is a hard rebuke a rebuke meant to bite and hurt for Christ desires belief which always leads to life everlasting.
Now Luke the physician was not in the room when Christ appeared but under the pen of inspiration he gives a more positive account.
Peace be unto you they hear from a risen Christ who appears before them but they react with terror and fright for they supposed they had seen a spirit but in reality this is unbelief.
Jesus asks, Why are ye troubled and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
And while they yet believed not for joy he asked for meat.
So we see first, fear, terror and fright caused by unbelief but next joy to come.
This is the principle with God.
First comes humbling, then comes exaltation.
First comes rebuke, then comes joy.
First comes repentance, mourning, affliction, and weeping but afterward comes salvation.
Peter learned this for he wrote in I Peter 5:6, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Solomon in Proverbs 1:20-23 personified Wisdom as crying in the streets with words of reproof, identifying many as simple, many as scorners and many as fools.
Reproof and rebuke is given to open up to wisdom and to reject simplicity and foolishness and scorn.
It was given with promises that Godís spirit would pour out and open up Godís word.
Our culture preaches the positive message and shuns even the idea of rebuke for all our culture looks at is the immediate to the exclusion of the permanent.
Christ did not spare his words for He always looked on the permanent knowing that the hurt of the rebuke was temporary but the soul of the one rebuked was permanent and eternal.
Proverbs 27:5,6 tells us the truth and what we are to think about these things for they say:
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
These two proverbs are related because they both talk about works of true friendship.
They are thermometers of friendship, testing its temperature.
The ideas presented in these proverbs about friendship are not ideas of the modern world because they are about hard things.
Things that cause pain, things that cause hurt, things that cause suffering.
We usually think of rebuke and wounds as negative and not friendly and we think of kisses as positive and friendly.
But God's thoughts are not our thoughts and God's ways are not our ways.
His thoughts consider everything while your thoughts and my thoughts are narrow and personalized to our own circumstances while concentrating on the temporary.
Your thoughts tend toward self and what you think good for yourself.
Leviticus 19:17 gives us Godís mind about how important rebuke is: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
The principle is: rebuke is evidence of love for your neighbor.
Remember Jesus said: As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.
Lack of rebuke is evidence of hate for your neighbor.
And the reason for rebuke is so that your neighbor will not suffer greater consequences of the sin for which he or she is being rebuked.
Rebuke is warning for the purpose of protecting your friend or neighbor from the consequences of wrong behavior.
So rebuke given to me is love and is the act of a true friend, a friend who cares about my soul.
Open rebuke is not the kind of rebuke that reveals the weakness of a person to other people.
It is not rebuke designed to hold a person up to ridicule.
It is not necessarily public rebuke for the benefit of those that may witness the rebuke, although these benefits may occur if that happens.
Open rebuke between friends allows corrective instruction that reveals.
Open rebuke removes smokescreens between people.
Open rebuke removes walls between friends that conceal reality.
It is corrective instruction for the person rebuked.
It is effective instruction because it makes sin naked and recognizable for what it is. It is cutting to the quick!
It is given from friend to friend (and by the way from parent to child, also) so things can be seen as they really are, not clothed in deceits of the heart that paint a picture that is different from reality.
If you shun and hate rebuke perhaps you do not really see yourself as a sinner.
I need true friends who care enough about me to want me to go the right way.
Friends who do not want me to suffer the consequences of sin.
Friends who dare to inflict pain and suffering upon me for a season so that in the long run I am more faithful to God.
I want a pastor who loves his flock and shows that love by the necessary rebukes.
For all those who desire godliness will want their faults to be revealed that they may be all God wants them to be.
Those who in sincerity of the heart, perform this difficult act of love are rare and faithful friends and are to be valued above the greatest treasure.
What a friend we have in Jesus, what a friend the disciples had when they were upbraided by Jesus for their unbelief for He was interested in their eternity at the risk of their temporary comfort.
Can love be expressed more than by a faithful friend who risks that friendship by faithful rebuke?