Week 6 - 17 May 2020
Our forty days between Easter Day and Ascension Day (Thursday) are rapidly coming to a close.
Nothing is recorded in the Bible between Jesus' meeting with the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee but then,
out of the blue came a message from Jesus to meet him once more.
'Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.' Matthew 28: 16,17
In verse 17 we see some of the disciples doubting; even when they see the facts, know the facts but still doubt.
They cannot see beyond what they believe.
The following statements are taken from official documents, newspapers and magazines widely read during their day.
Listen to what the "authorities" had to say:
1840 - "Anyone traveling at the speed of thirty miles per hour would surely suffocate."
1878 - "Electric lights are unworthy of serious attention."
1901 - "No possible combination can be united into a practical machine by which men shall fly."
1930 - (another scientist) "To harness the energy locked up in matter is impossible."
Many of us have had doubts about God; we have these questions that just won't go away, don't worry, we're in good company.
All of Jesus followers doubted.
John the Baptist doubted whether Jesus was really God.
The disciples doubted Jesus when he said he would raise from the dead and many promptly abandoned him.
And one even earned a nickname for his doubt; who we call Doubting Thomas;
which I think is a little unfair. He was only reacting how you and I probably would.
But here's one that I find the most surprising...Jesus has risen from the grave he's about to go to heaven.
He'd been visiting his disciples, not just the now 11, but many more over a period of time
and he was now with them again and their natural reaction was to worship him - and it was natural for Matthew to record the occasion
'...but some doubted.'
The author could have excluded that part; after all it doesn't do much to instil confidence,
...unless he was trying to do something different; trying to show us that doubt is normal, that these were ordinary men not super-heroes
...and that's what the Bible does over and over again
Here's the good news - and this is important.
We can doubt and be a follower Jesus at the same time.
We do not have to have understood it and have all our doubt worked out.
The people who literally walked with Jesus, ate with Jesus, and lived life with Jesus didn't have all their doubts worked out
and Jesus still let them follow him.
And not only follow him, but he used them. And that's good news.
Everybody has had doubt, will doubt, or knows someone going through doubt.
So let's define what doubt is;
the dictionary says it is 'to hesitate to believe, or to question.'
Doubt is not unbelief. Rather it's struggling to believe.
We tend to view doubt as a negative thing.
But the Bible does quite the opposite, it highlights the doubters.
It seems God has more of a tolerance, for doubt, than a lot of Christians do;
God uses doubt to bring us closer to him.
Both Matthew (28:17) and Luke ( 24:53) record that worship was taking place regularly during the forty days prior to the Ascension.
It is as we worship that we come closer to God and are fed, filled and strengthened.
Such a setting, which brings us close to God, will equip us for his service and will take away many of our doubts
In happy moments - praise God;
in difficult moments - seek God;
in painful moments - trust God;
In grateful moments - thank God;
in every moment - worship God.