After Pentecost Devotional - Day 56

They saw him and worshipped him, but some of them doubted.” Matthew 28:17

Doubts are a part of life. We are pretty good at doubts, and often as not they are good things. They serve to help us question what is before us and check the information we are given as to its validity. Doubts allow us to ponder, consider, and avoid jumping to conclusions on the basis of too little information or the vagaries of an emotional response. On the other hand, we don't want to remain in a position of doubting. It is not an appropriate destination, even while it can serve to guide us to the places we need to go.

We don't exactly know what led these disciples to doubt, nor what they were doubting. John gives us some hints, but he does not spell it out as clearly as we might want. There is some question of whether they recognized Jesus, as there are various passages of Jesus after the resurrection in which the disciples did not recognize him. It may be that they were still trying to wrap their minds around Jesus being resurrected. It may have been an issue of not understanding who Jesus was, of not accepting his divinity. Whatever the reason and definition of those doubts, the doubts existed.

While those doubts may have hindered the worship of the doubters, John offers no condemnation over those doubts. He simply points out the presence of doubt among some of the disciples. That matches up with what we see in Jesus' attitude in other related passages. He did not condemn those who doubted, while he did call them beyond the limitations of those doubts. He called them to press beyond to a place of growth and faith.

Doubts are not inimical to faith. They are not the opposite of faith. We need not fear them. Doubts are a necessary part of life. They may be a limiting factor in allowing faith its full range of life in the short term, but their presence does not cause faith to disappear. If anything, doubts serve to cause faith to grow. They force us to move beyond the limits of what faith has accepted. They prepare us to move forward into a deeper understanding and experience of faith. They challenge us to deal with issues we might otherwise ignore.

Where there are no doubts to accompany our faith, faith stagnates. It does not grow. It is not challenged. Where doubts are not allowed to exist, faith is kept from being able to grow, change, and respond with new understanding to circumstances for which we were not prepared.

For these disciples on the mountain with Jesus, accepting and understanding the resurrection meant taking a big leap forward. It was a necessary leap. It was a matter of great significance. The foundation for their grasp on Jesus as Messiah demanded this shift. They needed to rework so many of their assumptions about God. They needed to shift their paradigms to make room for Jesus as something more than a teacher and more than a military or political figure.

That transformation had to begin with doubts. They needed to doubt what they were seeing and what they had understood, in order to move forward with a new understanding that made sense of the Jesus before them. Doubts, after all, help us open doors of new understanding. They are pathways to growth, the start of something new.

Take the time to allow your doubts the room to challenge your own faith.


"Lord, keep me from suppressing doubts that I might allow you to grow my faith."

©Copyright 2016, Christopher B. Harbin
http://www.sermonsearch.com/contributors/104427/ 
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