I took one class at college in hermeneutics. I actually really enjoyed the class. I knew that it wasn’t likely that I’d be using my new hermeneutical skills on a regular basis when preparing preschool lessons, but I saw great application for my own personal knowledge and development. One of the key skills taught in hermeneutics is studying the verse in context. When looking at a particular passage, we would have to outline in detail the entire chapter in addition to a less detailed outline of the entire book. The context of the book, the chapter and surrounding verses can have a profound impact on the passage being studied.
Like I said yesterday, we’ve been looking at The Great Commission in our staff meetings. Usually people quote this passage using only verse 19 or sometimes 19 and 20. It also isn’t’ unusual for people to begin their quote starting with verse 18.
However, keeping the rules of hermeneutics in play, the passage of “The Great Commission” actually begins in verse 16. I’ve read the book of Matthew at least dozens of times, but two weeks ago I noticed something I’ve never noticed before. It’s in verse 17. I’ll quote both 16 and 17.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Do you see it? What the heck? Who doubted? Was it Thomas again? There must have been someone else as well if it says that “some doubted.”
It amazes me. These 11 men saw miracles performed by this man. These 11 performed miracles in his name. They witnessed his brutal crucifixion. Then they witnessed his resurrection. And here we are several weeks later and some doubted??? I don’t get it.
I seem to recall that this isn’t a first time occurrence. How often did the Israelites complain against God after they saw him smite (I love using that word) the mighty nation of Egypt. Moses went up the mountain for a little while and his people turned toward worshiping idols in his absence. How does this happen?
Here’s what I’m coming to realize. We’re a stiff-necked people! If I had been one of the 11, I might have been a doubter. Maybe you would too. Don’t deny it, look what happened to Peter when he denied similar accusations. I’ve encountered grace so amazing and have experience the power and love of the God who created the universe, yet why don’t I love him more? Why do I find it so difficult to spend time with him? Why don’t I love others more? Does this put me in the same camp as the doubters? Maybe.
Just something to chew on today…
Technorati Tags: Great Commission, Doubt
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Very nice insight. Yes, how could they have doubted with all they had seen? How can we doubt with all we have seen and experienced? I can’t tell you how many times I have been discouraged or frustrated in ministry and asked, “God, do you really care if I do this? Can’t I go back to being a full time mom?” Yet, I know my call. If I allow myself, I can remember the amazing set of circumstances and Holy Spirit movements to bring me where I am today. Still, I doubt from time to time. It’s actually comforting to know that event the actual disciples doubted too, and God still used them in a mighty way.
Can’t remember now where I read this, but I’ve read somewhere recently, that what it means is “some doubted if it was okay to *worship* Him.” Which still seems a little surprising, but it’s more understandable that one or two might be thinking, “We’re only supposed to worship the one Lord our God; is it okay to worship Jesus?” vs. “I’m still not sure Jesus is more than a good rabbi.”