“…but some doubted.” What Does Jesus Do With Christians Who Doubt?

doubt_diceDoubt was a dirty word in the church circles I came from.  Prayers for healing, prosperity, good grades at school, or a job promotion at work could all be derailed by simply doubting it would happen.

James 1:6 got thrown around a lot

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Yep, doubt became a good excuse to use when prayers didn’t get answered; “I’m sure he must be harboring doubt in his heart, that’s why he isn’t healed yet”

Doubt also becomes a useful tool in churches to keep people in line.  Encourage true believing at the cost of critical thought and leaders can get away with a lot of nonsense before people finally have enough.

But what did Jesus do with doubters?

When Jesus had been crucified and raised from the dead he then prepared his disciples to launch into the largest spiritual movement the world has ever seen.

His Great Commission!

Surely there could be no room for doubters?  Weak links in the chain would throw the whole plan off.  Wouldn’t Jesus “lovingly” ask those disciples who were not “fully onboard” to step out of leadership until they had been restored?

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. 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 end of the age.

Matthew 28: 16-20

Some doubted!

They just saw Jesus raised from the dead and yet they still harbored some thoughts of doubt.

Why?

Because they are human!

And it’s OK!  But what Jesus does next is what is truly mind blowing.

He gives the same commission to “Go” both to those that worshiped him and those who doubted!  He makes NO distinction between the two!

* Jesus didn’t have a loyalty test!

* Jesus didn’t have a patriotism test!

* Jesus didn’t have them sign a “What We Believe” Statement of Faith!

He gave the Great Commission to disciples… who doubted!

Yes, Jesus was a pretty secure church leader 🙂

He treats worshipers and doubters the same.

Why?

Because Christ knows two years down the road those self same worshipers today will be struggling with doubts tomorrow.

It’s all part of being human!

And they will need the help from those in the group who doubted earlier to take them out for a beer and tell them everything is going to be “OK”!

When Jesus told Peter that he was going to deny him three times Peter insisted that wasn’t going to happen. (Luke 22:31)

He was a worshiper, not a doubter!

But Jesus encourages him that once he has returned he should strengthen his brothers.  Once he overcomes his internal struggles and doubts he should help others struggling with the same.

Its the Jesus Way!

Following Christ is a journey.  And during a healthy faith  journey the worshipers become the doubters… and then the worshipers again.

Its what keeps the worship time really worship!

Jesus knows that and so he commissions worshipers and doubters alike!

2 comments

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  • Perry

    Reply

    Thank you for the encouraging message! For the past 1.5 year, my fellowship went through studying the Gospel of Mark. Almost all we read about the 12 disciples is that they had little faith, and they didn’t understand Jesus. However, Jesus still gave this important commission to the disciples, even after they totally failed and turned back on Jesus. His love and forgiveness is so complete and true.

    I think it’s impossible to have strong faith right on the first day, but it’s a process which God is happy to guide us through. Just like the father whose son was possessed by a spirit that had robbed him of speech, he called out to Jesus “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”. (Mark 9:24) Even the father had doubt, Jesus loves him and healed his son. I believe the father and everyone around learned more about Jesus from the incidence, and the experience had accumulated stronger faith in them. I think it works the same way for us, that we learn more, and believe more day by day through experiencing God. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” becomes my regular prayer!

    Right after the study of Mark, I do my devotion on the Acts. They are like a different group of disciples in the Acts… They became united, courageous, faithful, and totally clear about the purpose of Jesus coming to the world, and His teachings… Amazing change with the guidance of the Holy Spirit! Since the Holy Spirit is also with all of us, we could be as powerful and we could live a life glorifying God just like the disciples did!

    • Steve

      Reply

      Perry, Thanks so much for sharing that. I’m so glad you found the message encouraging. God is faithful even in our own doubts and struggles.

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