Last week as I was preparing for my weekend message at Northshore Vineyard I came across a passage I have read hundreds of times and of which I have even heard countless sermons in my years as a Christian. Yet this last week as I was reading the verses of Jesus’ Great Commission I caught some things that I had never noticed before.
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
There were two main things that stood out to me in these verses. First, I had never noticed the line in verse 17 “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” At first this seems kind of crazy. Think of it, these disciples had been with Jesus for 3 years—the healings, the teachings, and not to mention the death and resurrection of Jesus himself… and still there were some of them struggling with doubts. The second thing that got my attention is that even in spite of some of them doubting, Jesus still handed over the ministry to them. Remember that those were the last moments of the earthly ministry of Jesus as he was just about to return to heaven. This picture in Matthew 28 gives some amazing insight into Jesus’ ministry. Jesus spent 3 years with 12, mostly uneducated, fishermen, a tax collector and one guy who ended up becoming a traitor (Judas). Jesus brought these guys into his life and ministry through both the good and bad and then simply turned it over to them and encouraged them to continue in his ministry of the Kingdom.
While Jesus was many things—a great teacher, a healer, a prophet, and God incarnate, one thing we can see in these verses is that Jesus is not a control freak!
- What do you think?
- Do you ever struggle with doubts? Does this perhaps give you a little hope in your own spiritual journey?
- What does it communicate to you about God that He gives entrusts his ministry to normal people, many of whom don’t even have all of their doubts worked through yet?