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.
We all have heard Jesus’ instructions to His disciple in which He told them about signs that would follow believers. I find it interesting that this was preceded by correction regarding their “unbelief” and “hardness of heart.” We will see that “unbelief,” believing,” and “hardness of heart” are all conditions of the soul
The disciples had been with Jesus and stood watching as He was nailed to the cross. He had prophesied to them about this and told them that He would be raised on the third day. Jesus appeared to Mary after His resurrection, and she told the disciples, but they refused to believe what she was telling them.
We have seen previously that the “hardened” heart is a condition of the soul. Jesus had told the disciples that He would be raised from the dead three days after His death. They should have considered His words but instead allowed themselves to be influenced by what they had seen and experienced in the physical realm.
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Corinthians 5:7
I stated previously in our study that having a “hardened” heart in one area is possible, not in another. An example is a person who can easily believe God for financial blessings, not physical healing. They may have spent more time meditating on Scriptural promises regarding finances but not on those referencing God’s healing covenant sealed with Jesus’ broken body.
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Religious tradition and external circumstances are the most common contributors to a hardened heart. Christians often are kept from experiencing the power of God as a result of being more easily influenced by the input of their five physical senses than by God’s Word.
45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Mark 6:45 – 52
Here we have an example from a situation where the disciples allowed a storm to influence them more than Jesus’ word. I want you to notice verse 52, which tells us they considered “not the miracle of the loaves.” Their focus was on the storm instead of the works of God.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
(Matthew 14:25 – 26)
Here we have Matthew’s version of the same account. Mark told us the disciple’s hearts were hardened, and Matthew’s account indicates the reason was a lack of faith. We can conclude from this that unbelief creates a barrier in the soul that blocks the power of God from flowing.
In Mark, we only saw Jesus walking on water. Matthew tells us that Peter was able to also get out of the boat but not with the same confidence. Notice that he could walk on water only when His eyes remained on Jesus. The account tells us that Peter began to sink when he allowed himself to become distracted by the storm raging around him.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been present for this miracle? I have trouble picturing it and often wonder what the other disciples might have thought when reading about it as they watched Peter get out of the boat. Put yourself in their position. Peter was a good friend they had traveled with who stepped out of the boat in the middle of a storm so bad they feared for their lives!
16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,
17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
(John 6:16 – 21)
John provides us with a third perspective of this miracle. He tells us that not only did Jesus and Peter walk on water but that the ship was also translated to the other shore when Jesus got in! Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been in that boat?
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