No Time For Conversation About DOUBT!
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
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BlogFam, the final chapter of the Gospel of Matthew ends with the familiar Great Commission. Jesus declares His universal authority in heaven and on earth and then He commands the disciples to GO! And in telling them to GO, He gives them specific instructions of what they are to do beyond this moment with Jesus. The disciples are to GO and make disciples of all nations. The disciples are to GO and baptize the nations of new disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They are also to GO and teach them to obey everything that Jesus had commanded them during His time with them. Jesus ends His commission by assuring them of His abiding presence in their lives and ministry as they fulfill His command to GO. He promises that He is with them always, to the very end of the age, until time is no more, He will be there.
This is a very straightforward commission that has been recycled for generations of Christ followers. Many have recited these verses when speaking about the role of the church,particularly the evangelistic aims of churches all over the world. At the most basic level, we all understand that as disciples of Jesus we are to GO and make, baptize, and teach new disciples just as someone has done the same for us. I think this is a great call upon each of our lives and one that we must not take lightly or put off casually. It is all of our responsibility to GO and make, baptize, and teach in the ways that connect Christians all over the world generally but tend to divide us in the particularities of the implementation of this one Great Commission. But I am not going to focus on that which divides us on today as much as I want to focus on the conversation that does not happen in this text.
I am strangely encouraged by the flow of one of the verses we read on yesterday and the verses we read on today. Please hear these words -
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always,to the very end of the age.”
On yesterday, we discussed the doubt of some of the same disciples who worshiped Jesus when they saw Him. And today I am intrigued that Matthew does not record a conversation where Jesus directly confronts what Matthew said was present in the minds of some of the disciples. Jesus says nothing to rebuke their distrust of His presence and Jesus is silent to those who are uncertain that it really is Jesus, standing before them, risen from the dead, and alive and well. INSTEAD – and this is why I am strangely encouraged – Matthew records that Jesus addresses their doubt, fear,questions, unbelief, skepticism, suspicions, misgivings, and reservations by declaring His universal authority in heaven and on earth and this authority gives Him the right to use those same disciples who are not so sure that it is Jesus. He does not divide the disciples who believe wholeheartedly from those who believe hesitantly. NO! Jesus speaks to all of His disciples and tells them ALL – including the doubters - to GO!
Friends, I have heard so many different people deny God’s power to use them in the work of the Kingdom. They offer excuses about who they are not, what they do not have, what they cannot do, and who they will never be. Excuses offered that deny the power of the Lord our God in heaven and on earth which we can all draw from in order to answer the call and to do the work that our God has commanded us to do. Since Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, I do believe that He knew there were doubters amongst His friends on that mountain in Galilee but instead of focusing on their doubt, He declares His authority in such a way that affirms his identity and then he graciously invites them to participate in the Gospel ministry.
THANK YOU Lord Jesus! People of God, we can meet Jesus and worship Jesus and in these last few verses, we know that we might even doubt Jesus and Jesus will still call us and commissions us to serve. Think about it! Some of His own disciples doubted the resurrection of Jesus; yet Jesus still tells them to GO!
YOU have no excuse NOT to GO! There is room for those who believe and room for those who doubt in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Jesus has to know more than we are privy to in reading Matthew’s version of this moment and because Jesus does know more, Jesus says to those who doubt – I can use you too!
As I said before, I have heard so many excuses from people who deny the power of God to use them in being witnesses on behalf of our risen Savior but in this text those who doubted worshiped and were commissioned to work to make disciples, to baptize, and to teach. In other words, I believe that these disciples lack of faith was an opportunity for God’s power to show that through them, God wanted to do an amazing work in the nations. The text says that there were some who doubted and the very first statement Jesus speaks is a declaration of His universal authority in heaven and on earth.
Friends, BE ENCOURAGED! If you have the slightest doubt in your mind or if you have some major doubt about any part of who Jesus says that He is, well, on today, I want YOU to KNOW that, as the Super-Power of the universe, the Lord our God has the power to work through you and to use you for the advancement of the Kingdom of God in spite of your doubt. You have no excuses because the power of God is able to overcome every doubt in your mind for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not condemn those who doubted Him or His resurrection in this moment, but instead he reminded them of His authority and then invited them to continue His work on earth.
Today, I believe that there are some of you in my BlogFam who have some doubts about your ministry in the earth or doubts about how God has said that God wants to use you. BE ENCOURAGED! I want you to know on today that the power of God is mighty to save! The power of God is able to look beyond your doubt and into your destiny as one who will GO and make disciples, baptize, and teach in very creative and unique ways. The power of God is able to sustain you when your faith is shaky or when your belief in God’s power to working and through you is on the brink of being non-existent, our God will graciously remind you of His power so that YOU can draw on that power to help you move beyond that day, night, week, month, or even year of doubting. God’s power is able! When we focus on the power of God and not our feeble, frail, or failing faith, we are able to draw upon that same power and we will by God’s power worship and serve while doubting.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY for God’s endless mercy that will redirect our doubt to push us toward our destiny and will also empower us to GO and make disciples, and baptize and teach for His glory!
P.S. - TOMORROW we will continue our AFTER HE ROSE Series by beginning our reflection on the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark. Spread the Word! THANKS! :-)
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