Have you ever watched a commercial for a product and thought “that’s too good to be true”? What do we say about those situations? If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is. Have you ever gotten a big surprise and thought to yourself “pinch me I must be dreaming”? I imagine that is how the disciples felt at times, especially after the resurrection of Jesus. A lot of times we can be hard on the disciples, because it just doesn’t seem like they are getting it. I’m guilty of it at times myself. When that happens, I have to stop and remind myself that I have the benefit of hindsight. I am reading what happened. However, the disciples were living it. Therefore, I think we need to give them grace, because I can only imagine how hard it would have been to mentally process everything that they saw over the course of three and a half years. Then top it off with Jesus rising from the dead. That would be a lot to try and take in. As a side note, I think this is why we need to learn to be patient with new believers. If you have been a Christian for a while, you probably have had time to process a lot of these things. A new believer is still trying to process all that Christ has done for them, let alone everything they are reading in the Bible. So, be gracious to one another. Back to the text at hand. In Matthew 28, which we looked at earlier this week; there is a phrase in Matthew 28 that I have always found fascinating. As I read it this morning, I felt as though God wanted me to dive into that phrase and understand it. The phrase is found in Matthew 28:17, “When they say Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted.” The phrase is “some doubted.” I looked in five different major English translations, and every one of them translated that verse the exact same way. Therefore, it was time to dive a little deeper and pull out the Greek New Testament on my shelf. I was curious, what was meant by some doubted? Does it mean that some of the disciples still didn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection or the fact that He is the Messiah? All I can say is that I am so happy that God took me down this road.
The Greek word used for doubted here is not the typical word used for unbelief. Rather, the word used gives the idea that some hesitated. In other words, while all 11 knew that Jesus had risen from the dead, some were struggling to give themselves fully to Him. Again, we need to remember to give them grace, because they were living this out in real time while you and I have the benefit of looking back on the event. We know that the disciples weren’t struggling to believe Jesus had risen from the dead. We know this because this isn’t the first or even second time that Jesus has revealed resurrected self to the disciples. This is the third time in fact. Therefore, they knew Jesus had risen from the dead. So, what is their hesitation? I believe it is in part at least that they weren’t sure how to act in the presence of God. They had heard, and I believe they believed that Jesus was the Son of God. But knowing something as a fact and living it out are two different things. For many people, God is some distant person. He is someone to be pleased, not someone who comes near to us. Yet, Jesus isn’t distant. He does come near to us. In fact, His Spirit lives inside of every true believer. But I also believe there is something else to this, maybe something that you have to wrestle with as well. For the disciples, the resurrection changed everything. Now there is verifiable proof that Jesus is both God and man. Now we can know that there is life after death. Now we know that He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is not just someone to believe in, but someone that we must surrender and submit to, and someone that we are accountable to. The same is true for you and I, and indeed the entire world. Notice the next verse in Matthew 28. Matthew 28:18 says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth.” Because Jesus is the resurrected Lord, He is the Lord of the living and the dead. He and He alone is worthy to be worshipped. Jesus is no longer just a prophet or a teacher. They now fully understand that He has been and will forever be the Lord. Nothing less than complete submission and surrender to Him is acceptable. What does this mean for you and I?
It first and most importantly means that if we want to be pleasing and acceptable to the King, we must surrender to Him. You cannot reject the grace of God and think that you are pleasing to Him. But it also means that I must surrender every aspect of my life to Him. I can hold nothing back from Him. It means that my life should be lived as an act of worship to my King. I have to fully give myself to Him in absolute, unconditional surrender. My marriage, my children, my career, my finances, my possessions, and even my life are all His. I can hold nothing back from Him. So, let me ask you a question, are you withholding anything from God right now? No matter how small of a thing you may think it is, it matters. As Augustus Toplady wrote in the timeless hymn, Rock of Ages, “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” Have you laid all of yourself down at His feet, and are you living your life as an act of worship to the King? Or are you being like some of the disciples and hesitating? Hesitate no longer! Instead, join with the disciples of all time, fall at His feet, and live your life as a living sacrifice to the risen Savior.
By His grace and for His glory,