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Mark 284 - Need Some Moisturizer



Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.


Mark 16:14


Who’s the most patient person you know? Who always seems to look at the circumstances of life through the tender eyes of compassion? They seem to always live life with the softer side of the blanket wrapped around them.


While Jesus is compassionate, loving, forgiving, and gracious, he also speaks the truth. He loved us enough to die for us. But he also loves enough to tell us the way things are. So, when he appears to the disciples, he rebuked them.


They were responsible for their lack of faith. It was not because their DNA made them vulnerable to doubting and lacking faith. It wasn’t because they had been hurt in their past that they were lacking faith. It wasn’t that they hadn’t downloaded the latest version of software that they were lacking faith.


No, they had lack of faith because they choose it. God had provided everything they needed to choose faith. They had all the information, facts, and experiences to choose faith. It was right there in front of them. All they had to do was to reach out and grab faith. But they didn’t.


But when faced with the faith option, they choose against it. They choose more than another option. They did more than just make a questionable choice like buying generic aspirin instead of a name brand. They chose against a person. And that person was God.


So, it’s no wonder that Jesus doesn’t just pat them on the head and say, “There, there.” He doesn’t just say, “Boys will be boys” and let it slide. Jesus doesn’t hide behind the curtain of fear that he might hurt their feelings. No, he says what they need to hear so they can learn from their mistakes. Change. And move on.


Jesus confronts and rebukes his closest friends and followers. The eleven. He makes sure that they know what they’ve done. He does it with energy and emotion. There is no mistaking that they are being scolded.


And what’s the root problem that Jesus addresses? Their hardness of heart. Their hearts, the center of who they are, are dry. Stiff. Stubborn. Their hearts, the place that “makes them tick,” has stopped ticking for God. They refuse to budge. Bend. Believe. They personally reject God. Who he is. All he’s done.


It would be one thing if this was the first time they didn’t believe. It might be forgivable if this was just a small mistake. It could be overlooked if they just chose wrong this one time. But it wasn’t. It was their pattern. After Jesus feeds four thousand, listen to the hard words he says to his closest friends.


Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?


Mark 8:17b,18


Their habit was unbelief. They were stuck in the rut of unbelief. When faced with life, they choose only what they could see. Only what they could understand. Only what they could grab and hold onto.


And that’s a perfect definition of us. We only follow what we can see. What we can prove. What we can touch. What we can predict and understand. When we do this, we come to expect life to work a certain way. A way that we can control. When we choose to live our lives only based on the practical, we choose against God and all his beauty, forgiveness, grace, and love. This does nothing but set us up for disappointment and pain.


But Jesus offers a completely different view of life. A radically unique way of living that’s full of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control[1]. How good is that!


So, the choice is right there in front of us. Will we continue to choose a dry, lifeless life where we think and act like we’re in control? A wilderness kind of life, filled with lifeless rocks? A dried up, dried out kind of life where it hardly ever rains?


Or will we allow God to pour himself out and into us. Where he can soothe our dry hearts, restoring us to the kind of people he made us to be? Only God, and God alone, has the grace to forgive us. The power to remake us. Able to restore our dryness with a soft and graceful heart.


He’s already done all the heavy lifting, carrying our heavy burden of sin on himself. He has stretched his arms of grace towards us when his arms were pulled and nailed to the cross. He’s guaranteed and given newness of life when he rose from the dead.


It’s all right there for us. Will we choose with hard or soft hearts? What will we choose? Who will we choose?


Sure sounds like our hearts and lives need God’s moisturizer.

[1] Galatians 5:22,23

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