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Doubting Worshipers, Worshiping doubters

I single line near the end of Matthew’s gospel has my full attention:

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 (Matt. 28:16-17).

But some doubted. That’s the line.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

This scene on a mountain takes place right after Jesus’ resurrection and right before his great commission.

It’s with the eleven disciples. These are those who saw Jesus crucified, and now behold his glory. These are those who see the risen Lord with their own eyes, touch him with their own hands, hear him with their own ears. These are those who Jesus entrusts with the entire weight of his purposes in the world:

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” (Matt. 28:18-20).

But some doubted.

All worship, but some doubt.

That describes me. It describes, I suspect, most Christ-followers. We’re a species of worshiping doubters, a breed of doubting worshipers. Our doubts mingle with our faith. Our hesitancy is joined to our fervency. Our dogmatism is woven with our skepticism. Our hallelujahs compete with our laments.

We worship, and we doubt.

Or at least, I do.

My strength is in the Lord my God, but I can be frightened or saddened by the least little downturn or disruption. I attest to God’s goodness in the assembly of the righteous, but grow suspiciously quiet elsewhere. I trust in the Lord with all my heart, and sometimes worry all night long.

I worship, and I doubt.

But here’s the good news: Jesus chooses me anyhow. Jesus works with me all the same. Jesus entrusts me with heavenly purposes nonetheless. Jesus came to them and said, Here’s my authority, and here’s my plan. Now go fulfill it. He does not segregate the worshipers from the doubters. He knows that most of us have both impulses at work in us. He calls us anyhow, and send us to go and to do his work in his power.

So doubting worshiper and worshiping doubter though I am, here I go.

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