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Jesus Commissions the Disciples

14 Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.


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Mark 16:14. Afterwards he appeared to the eleven, while they were sitting. The participle (ἀνακειμένοις) which some have rendered sitting at table, ought, in my opinion, to be simply rendered sitting; and it is not without reason that I take this view of it, if it be agreed that the Evangelist here describes the first appearance; for it would have been an unseasonable hour of supper about midnight. Besides, if the cloth had been laid, 322322     “Si la nappe eust esté mise.” this would not have agreed with what Luke shortly afterwards says, that Christ asked if they had anything to eat. Now, to sit is the Hebrew phrase for resting in any place.

And upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart. This reproof corresponds more to the first appearance than to the second; for since, the disciples, as John tells us, (20:20) were glad when they had seen the Lord on the day after the Passover, their unbelief was then rebuked. To restrict these words of Mark to Thomas alone, as some have done, appears to be forced; and, therefore, I prefer to explain them simply as meaning, that when Christ first appeared to the apostles, he reproved them for not believing the testimony of eye-witnesses, who informed them of his resurrection. And yet when he condemns their hardness of heart, it is not solely because they did not give credit to men, but because, after having been convinced by the result, they did not at length embrace the testimony of the Lord. Since, therefore, Peter and Mary, Cleopas and his companion, were not the first witnesses of the resurrection, but only subscribed to the words of Christ, it follows, that the rest of the apostles poured dishonor on the Lord by refusing to believe his words, though they had already been proved by their result. Justly, therefore, are they reproached with hardness of heart, because, in addition to their slowness, there was wicked obstinacy; as if they had intentionally desired to suppress what was evidently true; not that they intended to extinguish the glory of their Master, or to accuse him of falsehood, but because their obstinacy stood in the way, and hindered them from being submissive. In short, he does not here condemn them for voluntary obstinacy, as I have already said, but for blind indifference, which sometimes hardens men that otherwise are not wicked or rebellious.




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