I’m pondering this morning Matthew 28. The Bible tells me, “then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him – but some of them doubted.”
Yesterday I preached about doubt in the wilderness, that creeping Kudzu-type beast that strikes us when things don’t go well, when grief strikes, when problems arise, even when tragedy causes deep grief.
I’m struck again by these disciples, who though they had seen so many amazing things, including apparently the resurrected Jesus, “some of them doubted.”
Doubted, uh, what?
Their eyes? How many times have you said, “if I could just see him?”
Their ears? How many times have you said, “if I could just hear him speak to me?”
Their minds? How many times have you tried to wrap your mind around the Trinity, the resurrection, the mechanism of salvation?
And since you couldn’t so any of the above, you doubt.
I’ve said many times, though certainly it is not original to me, that doubt is not the opposite of faith. Fear is. But doubt is the disease that leads us to fear, I think.
According to the end of Matthew’s gospel, the next thing that happened after “some of them doubted,” was for Jesus to come and tell them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. THEREFORE go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit.”
He never clearly addresses the “doubt.” He never admonishes. He never tries to strengthen.
He says, strangely enough, “I have been given all authority.”
He has been given authority. Not us.
The next word says that THEREFORE, or BECAUSE, or SINCE
Which means because he has been given authority and they are followers of that authority, the emphasis shifts to, uh, US.
What do we do about it?
Here’s the thing. When we don’t think we’re capable of doing whatever the task is, when we doubt we’re up to making disciples, baptizing and such, remember it is HE who has the authority and it is all encompassing authority, all powerful authority, all meaningful authority for the specific task of “making” disciples.
When we doubt we have the words, THEREFORE.
When we doubt we have the mind, the heart, the talent, the disposition, THEREFORE.
I’m here this morning in Starbucks acknowledging the fact I can’t. But HE can.