Last week’s Reflecting Light was all about having an Attitude of Gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for. We serve a God who is a good Father and He gives abundantly to His children.
This week I am grateful for the gospel. I recently finished reading the Gospel of Mark and I am reminded of the simplicity of “the gospel.” Sometimes we overcomplicate things, but Mark doesn’t. He lays it out pure and simple: Jesus came for each of us, suffered, was crucified, and rose victoriously. There you have it.
The gospel really is that simple, but the key is that you must BELIEVE it for yourself. Mary Magdalene was given the all-important task of telling the disciples that Jesus was alive, but Mark records that “they didn’t believe her.” (Mark 16:11) Only after Jesus appeared to them in clear light did they believe for themselves. Mary’s faith couldn’t carry the disciples . They had to make up their own minds to believe in the resurrected Christ in order to be saved. The same is true for us.
Mark says that Jesus corrected the disciples for having unbelieving hearts for the sake of teaching them that belief in Him is the most critical element in order to be saved. Do we believe that He is who He says He is? Or is He just another good man/teacher/martyr? Is He truly God or is He a fraud? The choice is ours to make.
“And he said to them, ‘As you go into all the world, preach openly the wonderful news of the gospel to the entire human race! Whoever believes the good news and is baptized will be saved, and whoever does not believe the good news will be condemned.'” (Mark 16:15-16)
I kind of want to erase that last clause from Scripture, don’t you? It seems a little harsh. Jesus was all about love and acceptance, so condemnation should not be part of the discussion. Or should it? It begs the question: What would be the point of providing salvation if there was nothing that we needed to be saved from?
What I see in this verse is that belief is serious to Jesus. So serious that He did everything possible to make sure that we have all we need to believe that He truly is who He says He is. Again, the choice is ours to make. He is a gentleman and will not force us to believe the gospel, but He desperately wants us to! He is patient with us and does not want a single one of us to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
If you have never made the decision to believe in Jesus, ask Him to appear to you just as He did to Mary Magdalene and the disciples. Read the Gospel of Mark and then as you see Him in clear light, believe with your whole heart that He is who He says He is. He is the one who died and rose again so that you may be saved. You must believe.
(If you made the decision to BELIEVE in Christ as your Savior today, will you please let me or a local pastor know? It would be my honor to lead you in your next step, which is to be baptized. Best decision ever!)