23RD APRIL 2022
THE REBUKE OF JESUS
Acts 4:13-21, Psalm: 118 And Mark 16:9-15
… but later the Lord appeared to the disciples themselves and “rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed…” (Mk 16: 14)
Rebuke means to express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone because of their behaviour or actions. In today's Gospel we see that Jesus rebuked His disciples. This means, He disapproved their behaviour, He showed His dissatisfaction about their behaviour, He was not at ease with the behaviour of His disciples. Why? The Gospel makes it very clear that Jesus rebuked His disciples for two reasons; First: For their unbelief and Second: Hardness of the Heart
Both these things appear to be very serious for Jesus, that is why Jesus rebuked His disciples. Jesus never rebuked when people committed sins, when they rejected him, when they shouted at him saying crucify him, when they challenged him, when they persecuted them, when they scourged Him, when they humiliated him, when they forced him to carry the Cross to the Calvary, When the soldiers nailed him to the Cross, when they stripped his clothes, when people went away from him. He never rebuked the people for doing such cruel things. Jesus rebuked at the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the scribes. He rebuked in the temple for converting the temple into a business centre. Finally, he rebuked for the unbelief and the hardness of the heart of His own disciples
In this context unbelief can be understood as the arrogance from the part of the disciples to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. We are on the last day of the Easter Octave – the eighth day. Over the last seven days, we have meditated on the various Resurrection accounts from the various Gospel narratives. Even after giving sufficient proofs for the resurrection of Jesus disciples are not ready to believe
Like the disciples, we too have many opportunities to encounter the Risen Lord and to experience Him. Unlike the First disciples we have scriptures, lived experience of the saints and other personal experience to know the Risen Christ. In spite of having so many instances in our daily lives, are we still hard hearted to believe in the values of the Risen Christ? It’s not enough to know the values of Christ, but necessary to practice them. Merely knowing it and not practicing it or not making any efforts to practice it, is equal to not believing in it because of our hard-hearted attitude. For such attitude Jesus will surely rebuke us.
After having rebuked, disciples were able to believe in the Risen Lord. The disciples would grow in the strength of this trust and would become courageous and powerful to give witness to the Risen Lord – even when put through trials and tribulations. This bold witness even surprised many people, including the religious leaders: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus!” (Acts 4:13). Their conviction would make them to profess the Lord in all what they did: “But
Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to
God, you must judge…for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard!”
Like the disciples, despite our moments of variations in faith, slackening in trust and slipping in hope. Let us place our hands in the hands of the Lord, to grow in the kingdom values and take up His task of being the Proclaimers and Witnesses of His Resurrection to the world always.