A Prelude to the Great Commission


“. . . but some doubted.”

Three simple words tucked away in the grand narrative of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and commissioning.

The disciples had likely just experienced a full range of emotions as they journeyed with Jesus through Passion Week. Matthew records their reactions to the resurrection of our Savior in chapter 28 verse 9, “Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.” Awe and adoration were the only possible responses to the risen Christ!

Yet, perhaps only a few days later as they gathered with Jesus for His commissioning of them to their ministry, Matthew 28:17 says, “When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.”

The addition of doubt. Three simple words.

But—have you noticed how quickly our spirits can move from worship to worry? Life has a way of disrupting and interrupting our experience of His presence and peace. Doubt is an intrusive invader lurking at our heart’s door. It was for the disciples, and it can often be for us as well.

Some—not all, and not always. We know the disciples were more completely convinced when the Holy Spirit came upon them and others at Pentecost. From then on they were marked by boldness, not reservation.

Doubted—I feel compassion for the disciples. Jesus completely upended their expectations of the Messiah. One moment He was dead and buried, along with their hopes and dreams, and then the next . . . He was very much risen and alive! Whew, what a ride! No wonder some of them were uncertain and confused.

Honestly, I take great comfort from these three words. We forget that “but some doubted” is part of the prelude to the Great Commission. We don’t have to be doubt-free to be called, set apart, and given authority by Jesus for our mission. Uncertainty is only a short blip in the narrative. It is not the primary story, nor its ending.

Doubt is a part of this pilgrimage with God. It intrudes into all our lives at times. This has been true at some point in my life in every season. Often triggered by hardship, doubt is actually a window that opens our souls to the potential for deeper faith and belief. Ultimately, Jesus’ presence and power overcomes our doubts as we journey with Him.

Friends, I pray that whatever you are currently facing in your lives right now will be used by God to forge a more resilient faith in Him. Whether you are living in the “but some doubted” stage or in a season of peaceful trust in God, may our Risen Savior meet you wherever you are in this pilgrimage.

This is His promise: “And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

Blessings and love to each of you, our dear partners in ministry.

David Schroeder