Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, NRSV)
This is the passage of text most of us know as the great commission. This is where Jesus sends the disciples into the world to make more disciples.
Jesus sends the 11 into the world to share what they have learned. And through the sending of the 11, He also sends us into the world.
And many of us doubt that we are called to go and be a part of God’s plan in the world. We would say we were part of the some who doubted here on the mountain with Jesus. But what if I told you that the part of the verse “but some doubted.” maybe a bad translation? The Greek here is οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν.
οἱ is a masculine plural article or they.
δὲ is a conjunction meaning but or and.
ἐδίστασαν is the third person plural aorist active indicative for to doubt.
So the part of the sentence all together is but they doubted. Of course, some say that the οἱ is redundant and unneeded because the they is implied in the form of the word for doubt and therefore should be translated some. But the other side of this is this is not done in any other part of the New Testament. This is the only time this particular construction is found. And we have to explain why the 11 disciples would have walked with Jesus and witnessed everything He did and when they finally see Him resurrected they doubt what they are seeing.
So how is it possible they worshiped and they doubted? Well, we have to get beyond that doubt is the opposite of faith. Doubt is the opposite of certainty. And wouldn’t you be uncertain about what was going on in front of you at that moment on the mountain? It doesn’t mean you don’t believe, it doesn’t mean you can’t worship, it just means you don’t get it and you have questions. Questions are not bad, they lead us to discover and to investigate.
So don’t fall away from doubting and questioning, lean into the call God has on your life, knowing you are in good company when you wonder about it and question it.
Here is a wonderful cartoon about this: