Doubting the Resurrection

St Hellens Summit

Every now and then, a verse I’ve read a hundred times jumps off the page and slaps me upside the head with new insight. In fact, just last week while reading Matthew’s account of the Jesus story, something stood out to me that I’d never noticed before:

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! (Matthew 28:6-7)

It’s easy to skim past this verse and see it as nothing more than the disciples reporting for a scheduled board meeting. We might read the phrase “going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go…” as if He’s asking the guys to meet Him in the conference room to review TPS reports.

If you read the entire chapter though, you realize that this is likely the first time the disciples have seen Jesus back from the dead. He’d already appeared to Mary in the garden and a few other followers on the road, but not to the disciples… not yet.

Keep in mind, these men had all walked with Jesus for years by now, listening to Him explain His parables, sharing intimate conversations around the campfire, even witnessing His miracles first-hand. So clearly they all expected to reach the top of the mountain, find the resurrected Messiah, and move forward with that whole “bring about the Kingdom of God” thing He kept talking about, right?

Not exactly. Some of them worshipped Him, yes, but (don’t miss this), some of them doubted.

Some of these men, after everything they’d witnessed first-hand, after all they’d been told, even after seeing Jesus standing there, in the flesh, right in front of their own eyes, still doubted.

They doubted He truly had been resurrected…

They doubted sin and death were defeated…

They doubted Jesus was who He said He was… the Messiah… the Son of God…

Standing there, face-to-face with the living embodiment of God’s grace, truth, mercy, and forgiveness; they looked into His eyes and couldn’t bring themselves to fully believe it.

And you know what? That’s okay.

I know many of you have doubts about this whole resurrection thing as well. Perhaps you’ve been looking at Jesus and wondering if it really is true—wondering if the life and freedom He promises is actually available for you. You may merely be curious right now, or you may be at a point where you desperately want it all to be true but you just can’t shake your overwhelming doubt and skepticism.

Again though, that’s okay.

Remember, these are the disciples we’re reading about here—men who knew Jesus personally—and yet some of them even doubted. If they we’re prone to doubt, there’s no reason to expect we won’t be as well.

Furthermore, I believe God allowed that line to stay in for a reason. He understands that we’ll all have doubts along our journeys, but He also recognizes how our faith can actually be deepened during those seasons of skepticism. In fact, it’s often those very doubts that drive people to seek truth—and end up finding Jesus.

When you look at it that way, doubt can be a good thing as long as it drives you to discover the truth.

We’re not told what eventually changed the minds of those disciples who doubted, but we do know they all came to trust Jesus. In fact, every one of them became so confident they were willing to give their lives for His Kingdom (as most of them did). Their doubt led them to seek answers, and the truth was made known to them in undeniable ways.

If you’re struggling to accept the resurrection of Jesus as truth, keep seeking the answer. Read the Scriptures. Listen to your heart as you ask the Lord to make Himself known to you. Find others who wholeheartedly believe and ask them why they no longer doubt the validity of Christ’s claims.

Keep your mind focused on Jesus and He will make the truth known to you.

If, as we celebrate the resurrection this Easter, you find yourself doubting whether there’s anything more to this holiday than plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies, know that you’re in good company.

Doubt is normal.

Doubt is okay.

What you do with that doubt, however, makes all the difference.

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