The Great Commission

While the women were on their way, some soldiers who had been guarding the tomb went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. So the chief priests met with the leaders and decided to bribe the soldiers with a lot of money. They said to the soldiers, “Tell everyone that Jesus’ disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep. If the governor hears about this, we will talk to him. You won’t have anything to worry about.” The soldiers took the money and did what they were told. The people of Judea still tell each other this story.

Jesus’ eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet him. They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted.

Jesus came to them and said:

I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. (Matthew 28:11–20)

After his resurrection, but before he ascended to heaven, Jesus met his disciples in Galilee and spent time teaching them. But facing the resurrected man that they had seen die on a Roman cross, some of them still entertained doubts. The Bible contains many stories about those who saw God do amazing things, who then turned around and grumbled and griped. We’d like to think that if we had been there, if we had seen such marvelous miracles, then we would be set for life: we’d never again doubt God, never again disobey, never again complain about any suffering we ever experienced: we’d live our lives on the mountaintop.

But what we see, in fact, is the way things really are, in the real world. As Abraham told the rich man, if people don’t believe the Bible, then they won’t believe just because someone comes back from the grave (Luke 16:31). Doubt is where we live, it is who we are. It is human nature to doubt, rather than to trust. No matter what God does, no matter how marvelously we see him act, we will always be tempted to doubt, especially as time passes and we begin to take whatever God did for granted. The novelty quickly wears off. We must work hard and constantly strive to renew our trust.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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