Called to Go Out into the World

Sermon Notes - June 11

Introduction: The women have gone and seen the empty tomb, saw an angelic messenger, and finally seen Jesus himself. He has told them to have the disciples go and meet him in Galilee on the mountain. The disciples take their word and go to the place Jesus has asked them to go. We may forget that this will be the first time they have seen Jesus since he has been raised from the dead. What was going through their minds as they journeyed toward what had to be an emotional meeting!

I) Upon seeing Jesus the disciples worship him. Obviously they now recognize him as the Messiah. Finally after all the waiting as they hurry on their way their hopes have been fulfilled they can now rest their eyes on their teacher!

II) Now, of all times we are told that some doubted. Were their others with the disciples who although they worshiped him still held onto doubt? Since we are only told of the presence of the eleven must we then conclude that some of the most inner circle of Jesus doubted that this could be truly Jesus and if so just what did those doubts entail? These questions must go unanswered as Matthew does not give us the information we are seeking.

III) Matthew goes on to Jesus telling the disciples they are to go into the world and baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teaching everyone to follow all that Jesus had commanded them. We are now left with this commission to go out and do likewise. As we reflect on this passage we may well wonder how could the disciples go out and do this when they still, even after seeing the resurrected Jesus, have doubt! We sometimes want to make doubt the antithesis of faith. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, so much as doubt is the invitation to explore what it means to have faith more deeply. In Matthew 14:31 Jesus reprimands Peter saying when Peter looks away from Jesus and at the storm raging all around him as he walks upon the water toward Jesus only to sink and cry for help. Peter has two minds here. On the one hand he has taken the risk to get out of the boat and go towards Jesus. As Peter loses his focus and begins to realize the great peril he has now put himself in by getting out of the boat, he begins to sink. We too face this difficulty when we may well set out to try something, like remodel our sanctuary and then have doubts about can we accomplish this task. There may well be times when we are of two minds as to what we are or are not able to accomplish, we must then focus on our relationship with Jesus and his pushing us to accomplish our mission of inviting others to join us as fellow disciples of Christ. The point of doubt is not unbelief but of belief that is yet in the process of maturing. Most of us are on this path, and we are told not to wait until we have mature faith, but to go and teach about Jesus now.