Discipleship and the Doubter

Matthew 28:17

And when they saw Him they worshipped Him, but some doubted

Jesus called His followers to meet Him at a mountain in Galilee and they all showed up to meet the risen Savior there. And there He was. Risen. Present. Triumphant over sin and death and was right there in their faces to be fully seen by them. Their response was response fitting for an occasion like this: they worshipped. Well…some worshipped. Some doubted.

In the physical presence of Jesus risen from the grave, some STILL had their doubts. They still had some things they weren’t sure about. They had some level of belief, that’s for certain. Why else would they have obeyed the command to go and meet Jesus there? If they had no faith, they never would’ve gone there to be with Him. But all of their doubts weren’t settled yet. Even in light of the fact that they believed Him enough to obey when He said “meet me here,” and in the physical presence of the risen Savior, some doubted.

Fast forward the clock a couple millennia and across the world people are still gathering together because of the command of the Savior and some are worshipping. But some have doubts. They don’t have all the answers. In fact they probably have more questions than answers but they at least believe in the risen Savior.

And when Jesus addressed all of the people gathered, both the full throated worshipper and those with doubts, He had the same message for both of them. “All authority is mine…therefore go and make disciples…”

Jesus calls both the deeply devoted worshipper AND the believer still holding on to some things that just aren’t clear yet to do the same thing- make disciples. He didn’t tell the deeply devoted, loud singing, knee bowing worshipper “You have all your stuff together so you go make disciples.” He didn’t pivot to the doubters and say “You need to get all of your questions answered first. Once you’ve settled all of your issues THEN go and make disciples.” But rather he told both the worshipper AND the doubter to go make disciples.

I’m convinced that part of the reason for this is because we aren’t making disciples of ourselves, we are making disciples of Jesus.

This rings true also because Jesus knows that discipleship – following Jesus and helping others follow Him – is more than simply knowing something. Yes, belief requires us to know something, but it doesn’t stop at merely knowing. If it did, then knowing everything would be essential to belief and by default so would discipleship. But it’s not. It’s more than simply knowledge so it doesn’t require us to know everything. It requires us to know and believe the Savior, even when we don’t feel like we know everything about Him.  The One that rose from the dead and had all authority in His hands calls both the deeply devoted worshipper and the follower that believes but still has some questions and some doubts to be about disciple making.

This means that disciple making is not the work of the Christian Special Forces, but of every believer. In John 4, we see the woman at the well that encounters Jesus and all she knows about Him was He knew all about her (John 4:29) That’s all the information she was armed with and it was all she needed to go back to her town with and to tell everyone about to help them follow Jesus. Of course that doesn’t mean all the information you have now is all you will ever need. You need to grow in the knowledge of Him. It does mean, however, that all the information you have right now is all you need to begin join in the glorious work of making disciples.

So, if you believe but you have your doubts know that you are in exceptional company. The 11 people that walked closely with Jesus for 3 years, saw Him crucified and a few helped to bury Him, then saw Him risen from the grave -even among them were some doubters. You may gather among believers who are worshipping God and they have stories of great things God did for them and how He saves. You believe, but you have some doubts. Jesus’ words still ring true for you as they did for them. The invitation, dare I even say command still rings true for you, “Go and make disciples.” But I don’t have all the answers – “Go and make disciples.” But what if they ask me about the existence of evil? “Go and make disciples.” But I’m not sure where I stand on certain issues like election and free will. “Go and make disciples.”

History tells us that all eleven dedicated the rest of their lives following Jesus and helping others follow Him. Apparently, as they went to make disciples, Jesus filled in them what was lacking in their faith. But He did not wait until they had it all together to tell them to go. He just said “go.” So let’s put aside our excuses let’s engage in the beautiful and glorious work of helping others follow Jesus as we follow Him.

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