“The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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,” (Matthew 28:16–19).”
This passage is Matthew’s set-up of the Great Commission. When I read it recently, I noticed something odd. Matthew tells us, “But some doubted.”
What in the world was there to doubt? They couldn’t doubt that Jesus was the Messiah, that he was God’s Son, I mean, he had been dead a few days ago and was now resurrected, meeting them on the mountaintop! They had touched his nail-scarred hands and feet!
So, I dug into that word distazo (doubt) and it is sometimes translated “to hesitate.” They were dragging their feet. Now, let’s think back on who Jesus is talking to here. Jesus died at age 33. As a rabbi, his disciples would have been younger than he, and we think John was much younger, in his late teens. In other words, everyone hearing this Great Commission was under the age of 32.
These were first century millennials!
None of them had ever preached a sermon or taught a Bible study. None of them had ever even left the country.
Jesus had been resurrected and ordered them to a top of a mountain in Galilee. They knew something big was coming. They knew they were inheriting Jesus’ ministry … and some hesitated … they doubted.
Here’s why I think it is important. What does the Lord do when we doubt? Does he get angry and push us away, frustrated with our frailty and weakness?
Look again at verse 18, “some doubted. Jesus came near.” Remember when Thomas had doubts? John’s Gospel tells us, “Jesus came and stood among them.” I love that about Jesus—when I shrink back, he draws closer.
And the same is true for you. When you doubt this week, when you waver, when you fear, when you struggle, Jesus will come near.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and online. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.