Matthew 28: 16-20 – The World in Front of the Text

As we continue with our encounters with Jesus, this week we’ll look at one of the most important passages in the Bible for us as Christians.  This passage in Matthew 28: 16-20 is often called the Great Commission:

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

rootedchristToday in our World in Front of the Text, I want to really talk about that dynamic at play between worship and doubt.  As we talked a few days ago the notion of worship here has a lot to do with submission and bowing down before Jesus.  In this context, the Greek implies more reverence than emotion.  But in this, there are still some among the disciples that are unsure, who are not convinced, that, as the scripture says, doubt.

I want to talk about that and about what faith looks like. Scripture tells us that some have the gift of faith. That means for us, perhaps a good many of you reading this right now, faith is something that is natural for you.  It is something that you have just been gifted with like some are gifted with song or musical talent like some are gifted leaders or communicators. Some of us just have that gift of faith.  That is a great, great gift.  Our churches need that.  Our families need that.  I honestly think that is one of my wife’s gifts.  She is just able to naturally and easily believe.

I am not gifted in that way.  That is not to say that I do not have faith. I do. But faith for me, for many years, was a struggle.  A fight. I always identified with the story of Jacob wrestling with God. I felt like that was what my faith was for a lot.  Honestly, this passage shows for me the path forward for those of us that may struggle with faith in that way.

We see in this passage that faith is not an emotional experience, that worship is not always that emotional experience, it is a submission to God.  That’s something I’ve learned in my life.  In the end, I don’t know everything and will never understand everything.  That’s ok.  I submit myself to a kind and loving God.  Faith is that. It is, in many ways, an act of surrender and submission. I don’t have to figure it all out.  I’ve become more ok with that, as I’ve grown older.

What I really identify with is what Jesus does to those who still doubt.  He doesn’t kick them out or tell them that they are not part of the family. They are still a part.  He will still use them. They are still part of His family.  You don’t have to have perfect faith or have it all figured out to be used by God, you just have to be willing.

Today, are you willing to be used by God?  If so, He has something for you. Something only you can do.  That’s what it takes,  a willingness to be used.  Start there and leave the rest up to Him. Trust in Him in that.  He will take care of all the rest.

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