9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
The accounts of the disappointment that Christ’s disciples faced following His crucifixion are a strong testimony to the power of expectation and self-deception. Sometimes we read the Gospel accounts and think “how did they not get it, Jesus spelled out so clearly to them what would happen.” The thing is, while they heard what He was saying, they weren’t listening.
Jesus told them, in many cases, exactly what would happen, but they had their own preconceived ideas of what the Messiah was going to do and they allowed these expectations to blind, or rather, deafen them to what Christ was saying. They were so self-deceived by their ideas that they were clinging to that it resulted in a lack of faith in Christ’s messages. It’s amazing when we consider the fact that the Pharisees and religious leaders, who opposed Him and rejected His messages had a greater remembrance of His teachings than the disciples. In Matthew 27:62-64 the religious leaders appeal to Pilate to seal the tomb based on Jesus’ teaching that He would rise the 3rd day. If the disciples had remembered that, I think their response to the whole situation, and especially Mary’s testimony, would have been a bit different.
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
We, today, still have a tendency to fall into this same error. We grow up in a certain church, or like a certain pastor, and we subscribe to their beliefs. Then when we read the Bible we are filtering everything we read through the lens of our preconceived ideas of truth, while at the same time closing our minds off to what God’s Spirit might be saying to us. We must, like the Bereans, receive the word “with all readiness of mind,” but not stop there. We must follow up by searching “the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” I’m not saying that there is no absolute truth, there clearly is, but we must not be so closed minded that we don’t grow beyond what we currently know.
May we lay our preconceived ideas and beliefs at Jesus feet and allow Him to show us the way, trusting in the Truth and faithfulness of His Word alone.