Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV) 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Most of us, I think, like and prefer simplicity. The simpler, the clearer, the easier the
better. Grey area is complicated. Duality can be confusing. We often take this exact same
approach to our faith. We want to know exactly what to do, what to say, and what to believe.
But, no matter how much we might want it to be true, life is very rarely – if ever –
simple, easy, or uncomplicated. We learn to live with this complexity in our lives, there isn’t
much we can do about it. When it comes to our faith, however, we believe that it really can be
simple and clear.
One of the ways that this plays itself out in our faith is with the idea of doubt. When we
have doubts or questions, when we are struggling to understand something, it often feels to us
like some kind of failure. We allow ourselves to think that if we don’t have every aspect of our
faith figured out, that we are somehow lesser Christians, or that our faith is weak or
When we wrestle with these kind of thoughts, it is time for us to spend some time with
these five verses at the end of Matthew 28. Verse 16 begins with the disciples heading to meet
Jesus on the mountaintop. Then in verse 17, the disciples see Jesus. Nice – easy, simple, clear
– it’s Jesus, so how hard can this be?
But while some of the disciples responded as expected, with simple and clear worship,
that wasn’t everyone’s response. Some of the disciples saw Jesus – right where he told them
he would be – and their reaction was to doubt. Which, when you think about it is pretty
amazing, the weren’t doubting the idea of Jesus or the abstract concept of faith, they were
looking at Jesus with their own eyes and they doubted.
My first reaction to this is that they must have been the worst disciples ever. I mean
most of us have had doubts or struggles before, but none of us have ever had the wonder of
actually seeing Jesus.
But notice how Jesus responds. There is no rebuke, no public shaming of the doubters,
no dramatic finger pointing them down the hill telling those that didn’t believe they were no
longer wanted or needed.
Instead the doubters, right allow with those that worshiped fully, were commissioned to
go out into all the world, to make disciples and to baptize in the name of the triune God. What does that mean? It means that God can handle our doubts, that God is bigger than our
questions. It means that the doubts, questions, fears, mistakes we make – none of it
disqualifies us from worshiping Jesus, from serving Jesus, from being included in the family of
Life isn’t always simple and clear. Our faith isn’t always as easy as we would like or
hope. But God’s love never waivers, and God’s acceptance of us is never conditional. That is
very goon news for you, for me, and for us all.
Sharing God’s Love,