Fear Does Not Believe That Jesus Is In Command
These verses continue the theme of unbelief among Jesus’ close followers and disciples: they did not believe that He could be alive, raised from death. ‘They did not believe them either’ shows that the women did not believe that Mary Magdalene had met the Lord, and that Peter and John did not believe the evidence of the empty tomb, and that the disciples did not believe the couple's experience of Jesus in their home in Emmaus. Most of all it shows that they did not believe the words of Jesus who told them at least three times that He would be killed and then rise from death on the third day.
This passage reflects Luke 24:13-35 in which Jesus appeared incognito to two loyal followers walking back home from Jerusalem on Resurrection Sunday. They described their hearts 'burning' (Luke 24:32) as He spoke the truth to them, but Luke says that they were kept from recognising Him (Luke 24:16). Despite this, they wanted to welcome Him into their home; and it was there, as He took charge at the meal table, that their eyes were opened (Luke 24:31).
Although it was dark, they hurried back to the disciples in Jerusalem, but initially they were greeted with disbelief from the disciples. Even when the Lord Jesus appeared to them all, they were shocked and faithless. How resistant they were, despite Jesus having explained about His resurrection well ahead of time. It shows the extraordinary potency of human hearts to block the very words that will bring life and hope.
The freedom to choose is built into human personality by God’s design. The ability to voluntarily love and receive all that is good brings much joy. On the other hand, the stubborn refusal to embrace the truth and to submit to the God who made us deprives us of so much blessing and leaves us in fear. Perhaps we need to audit our own responses to the Word of God: are they of faith or not?
© Dr Paul Adams