Daily Devotion - Wednesday, April 6, 2016
I was reading today from Matthew's Gospel, chapter 28 to be precise--the passage where the risen Jesus gives the Great Commission to his disciples. He tells them to "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."
But right before the Great Commission there are these verses: 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Seriously? Some doubted?
That verse has always perplexed me. These were the eleven remaining disciples, mind you. They were the ones who saw Jesus taken, many of them watched him beaten within an inch of his life, still others watched him die. And then he appears to them miraculously, risen from the dead.
They all worshipped him on the mountain that day. The word that's used here in Greek (proskuneo) is the same word we use when we talk about someone kneeling face down--prostrate on the ground. They all worshipped. But then it says that some doubted.
How could they have doubted? And why?
This is where our English translations of things often mess us up a bit. The word that's used here in Greek is distazo which actually refers more to hesitation than unbelief. But still... If someone who just rose from the dead is giving you instructions and you're having any kind of hesitation about receiving them--that's a problem.
I think they were overwhelmed. I think it was too good to be true, and they knew it. Everything had changed for them and for the entire world because Jesus was no longer dead. And they felt unworthy, and confused, and not sure how they fit into this new narrative.
I struggle with this all of the time. I am constantly asking God, "How could you possibly use me? With all of my baggage... with the ways I've betrayed your Son... with my lack of faith.... How?" Maybe you've asked yourself the same question before, too.
In his book Living The Resurrection, Eugene Peterson addresses this very question in a way that gives me such hope. He says, "The 'some' who 'doubted' on the Galilean mountain received the same authorized apostolic commission as the others."
Jesus' resurrection is an open door. He welcomes us all into the joy of his resurrection life--the broken, the doubters, those who hesitate, those who feel unworthy.
If you feel like you are too flawed, too broken to be used by God--think again. Jesus' authority falls upon you to go and to bear witness to the joy and hope of the resurrection in your own life and the world around you. So go bear some witness today. You don't need to hang back any longer.
May you find ways today to share your hope in the resurrection with someone else who is broken and flawed. May you step fully into the resurrection life that Jesus invites you to live. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.