Doubts & the Mission of Jesus
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Great Commission in Matthew 28. It’s a passage many know well, finding it an inspiration, a call, a light to guide the way. It’s a powerful text, one that has inspired Christians for thousands of years, so it’s not a passage usually associated with doubts.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 16-20 NRSV)
There are many things about this passage that may jump out to you. But for me, in this season of life, what jumps out to me is verse 17 – When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Yeah, that’s me right now. Many right now are worshiping Jesus, but I feel like I’m over in the corner, doubting.
Yes, Lord, I know you’re risen from the dead – but no one is watching our videos.
Yes, Lord, I know you’re risen from the dead – but I’m afraid we are starting to lose people.
Yes, Lord, I know you’re risen from the dead – but finances!
Yes, Lord, I know you’re risen from the dead – but there is so much pain and loss and hurt right now.
Yes, Lord, I know you’re risen from the dead – but I am inadequate to meet this moment.
Right now, I feel like my faith is: “Yes, Lord, I know you’re risen from the dead, but…”
Do you ever feel like the disciples who were overcome by their doubts? Sometimes I do. I should know better. Has God ever failed me? Of course not. I know God won’t start now. I know that God is with us. I know that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords – but…
Let me tell you why this text gives me comfort. Notice what Jesus didn’t do to those doubters. He didn’t kick them out. He didn’t fuss at them. He didn’t say they didn’t measure up to the moment.
And look what Jesus did do. He saw them. He sent them out. He included them in the mission. They were still part of his team, his flock, his people. Their doubts did not exclude them from the family. Their doubts did not exclude them from the mission.
Neither do my doubts; neither do yours. Jesus still has a place for us, in spite of our fear or inadequacy or doubts. And here’s the cool part of grace: what if Jesus can even use your uncertainty? In a world full of folks with rock-star faith, maybe it can be the doubters and the “yeah – but…” people who are approachable to doubters; who are realistic, who are touchable. Maybe, to a world reeling from pain after pain, a perfect God who sits with uncertain people with incomplete faith is exactly what we need right now.
The doubters had a place in the mission. In this moment, that gives me great hope. Here I am Lord, even with my doubts. Send me.