a path in the forest in the morning

When doubts get in the way

Great Commission

The Great Commission which closes the Gospel of Matthew has been powerful marching orders for the Church.  It is often preached and has motivated countless Christians to lives of sacrificial outreach. (Matthew 29:16-20)

The risen Jesus appeared to the remaining eleven disciples and gave them the plan for their future and the future of the Church they would plant.  They were to make disciples by going to where the message of Jesus had not been preached.  They were to baptize new converts and they were to teach Christians to live godly lives.

Some Doubted 

This final paragraph of Matthew contains a shocking and ominous statement.  “Some doubted.”  (Matthew 28:17)

These were the core of the new Church.  They received great promises about their place in eternal kingdom but yet some doubted. (Matthew 19:28)

Doubt in the face of evidence

Jesus appeared to them on the evening after he rose in the dead.  Thomas was not there but he was when Jesus appeared a week later.  In the 40 days before he returned to to heaven Jesus had appeared to them and many others.  Paul could claim that there were hundreds of witnesses to the fact that Jesus came back to life after he was crucified. (1 Corinthians 15:3-11; John 20)

John recounted an early morning appearance when Peter was restored and his martyrdom predicted.  John, the last apostle alive, used this record to make it clear that he might not live until Christ returned. (John 21)

But yet some doubted.

What can we do about this?

Before he died, Peter told his readers that he had had great experiences like being at the Transfiguration but God’s written word, the Bible, was more sure. Daily, systematic time reading the Bible is probably the best way to build a base that can withstand and respond to doubts. (Matthew 17:1-13; 2 Peter 1:16-21)

Faith and experience

I have addressed this tension in previous posts:

Miracles and experiences don’t guarantee faith (So that you may believe. John 20:30-31)

Faith and Experience- The Crowd- Experiencing a miracle

Faith and Experience- Moses and the Jewish elders- Experiencing the presence of God

Faith and Experience John the Baptist- A word from God

Faith and Experience- Peter- A Great Experience

Have you ever been plagued buy doubts that worried you?

Do you know people whose doubts have immobilized their lives?

2 thoughts on “When doubts get in the way”

  1. Hi Bob, I think this last sentence should read « Do you know people whose doubts have immobilised their lives ».

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