Doubting? Go…. A Trinity Sunday Sermon on Matthew 28:16-20
Doubting? Go Ahead!
May the grace and mercy of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ so overwhelm you, that any thoughts of doubt and hesitation is simply set aside, as Your Lord says, “Go in My Name” AMEN!
A Measure of Doubt/Hesitation
At first, I don’t think we understand it. It doesn’t make sense.
Here the apostles are, standing there in the presence of Jesus, the one who died in front of their eyes, and who was raised from the dead. They had seen him walking, eating, teaching, with the holes in his hands, and they have seen the gaping wound left by the spear.
And as he stood in front of them, some doubted. They wavered, they hesitated. They doubted.
It doesn’t really make all that much sense to us at first. How could they doubt, they were in the presence of God! They were overwhelmed, and couldn’t answer the question, “What does this mean?” because they could quite process the resurrection itself.
Jesus reaction is interesting. He doesn’t confront them as sinners, and He doesn’t comfort them in the place they are.
He simply tells them, Go back to what is their “normal life” and while you are living, make disciples of everyone and anyone.
For men who were doubting, men who were hesitating, it is an interesting directive. One that we need to hear today as well.
Unbelief or Doubt?
As we look at this, I think we need to be clear about what these disciples, these followers of Jesus were experiencing.
It wasn’t unbelief or disbelief. It was doubt, it was a word that means to hesitate in commitment or action, it was to waiver, or be paralyzed in the moment because you don’t know how to act.
To think of it in a positive way, it’s like that moment when you are told you are one, husband and wife, and the pastor gently prods you to kiss your wife for the first time.
“My wife?” Uhm – who is that… I mean – I am really married now? Ahh – there she is! And everyone laughs as the kiss is much too quick, or far too long!
Or it’s like that moment when you receive news that your life is changing… and you don’t even know how to begin processing it, yet you must act. You might even be ready to go through the motions, but what are you doing?
He is risen! He is risen indeed… and that means we have risen indeed.
So what? What happens next? What am I to do with this?
How does the resurrection of Jesus, and His ascension, change my life 2000 years after the fact?
The Answer? Go!
Jesus answers that question, “All authority in heaven and on earth is mine. Therefore, it is time to go…
Go and disciples of people from every walk of life, from every culture, from every demographic statistic there is, that can be used to divide people. Disciple, not just making converts, but a continuing process of revealing to people the promises of God that will be and are given in their baptism, and continuing to reveal to them not just the God’s laws which are commanded, but the blessings that are promised in commands as well.
Go and do this, and here is where we see the Trinity’s authority given to us, just as it was given to Jesus by the Father.
Next month, I get to act on President Stoterau’s behalf, installing the Rev. Mark Jennings as the pastor of Peace, Pico Rivera. My responsibility, my authority, is very limited, yet I will be acting on our District President’s behalf. When God says disciple them, baptize them, teach them to keep my covenant, we have all the authority found in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit to do so.
Which is amazing, if you think of it! God has transformed us to the extent that He entrusts us, just as He did the eleven disciples! Disciple people, walk with them as Jesus did with the eleven disciples, as much as the eleven disciples did with people like Stephen and Barnabas, Priscilla and Aquilla, Phoebe and Mark.
How does that affect our doubt, our hesitation, to know that we are backed by God on this ministry of reconciliation we have been given?
This incredible, glorious, majestic, merciful, loving Triune God has called us, and is transforming us, and sends us out to minister to believers and unbelievers alike! Revealing to them the work of God, done in their baptism, and the relationship God defines in the New Covenant, the same relationship that He promised in the Old.!
And as we make the sign of the cross, as we remember our baptisms, we remember how His plan and work, from before the foundation of the world, to the cross and to Pentecost has been to disciple us.
The Promise… I am! With you
If you are still doubting, if you are still hesitant, if you think you don’t have what it takes to disciple another person, to point them to the promises of baptism, to share and remind them of God’s gift of life, and the blessings of living in relationship with Him, hear these last words,
And be sure of this, I AM with YOU Always, even to the end of the age.
God in three persons, blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit! They have kept their promise and come and made a home with you.
You aren’t alone, you aren’t powerless, God, who gives you His name, is with you. When you are hesitant, even doubting, know that when God says “go”, He is also saying, “I am with you!”.
He loves you too much to stay away.
So let’s go… and disciple each other and our world. AMEN!
Posted on June 11, 2017, in Devotions, semons and tagged Doubt, faith, Go and make disciples, Great Commision, Hesitation, I AM, Matthew 28, practicing the presence of God, Ta Ethne. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.