Why isn’t life easier?
Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! —Matthew 28:16-17
It’s a question we all ask. Why isn’t life easier? Why can’t we be even more sure of who people are? What we are to do when faced with a quagmire, a bump in the road, or a big decision?
Sometimes choices are good. For example, I’d prefer a well-stocked buffet if all that is offered at a meal is a goat’s head or fish eyeballs, or… well, you get my point.
Then again, choices can also trip us up.
Life isn’t always easy for us. Life wasn’t always easy for the disciples, either, especially when it came to responding to the same unknowns we ourselves experience.
Here at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, we have some of the most honest text in the whole Bible. Jesus, whom the eleven had just seen resurrected, appoints a place for all of them to meet. Okay. They make it there.
But then there’s this doubt thing. At first, we think—how could any doubt Jesus? He’s right there! Um. RIGHT there!
But Jesus is right here for us, too. He is a prayer away.
This text speaks to is our human nature in the face of divinity. We just don’t get it. That’s not a boo-hoo. We can’t get it, at least not all of it, because we aren’t divine ourselves. To substantiate this, I think of Peter, James and John on the mountaintop where with Jesus they meet Moses and Elijah. Knowing our Bible, that is a concept we get because, ah, hello, we paid attention in Sunday school! We get this! Jesus. Moses. Elijah. And then Peter. James. John.
But do we get this? Peter’s confusion after Jesus’ transfiguration between Moses and Elijah is telling of the human condition. Oh yes, we want to know Jesus. Oh yes, we want to sing and own the lyrics to the hymn we have a friend in Jesus…we totally want this…like Peter, we may even want to build a monument on the spot…but there’s still something.
The Greek word for doubt here means uncertainty, even hesitation. I love this text—this word—because here, in the Grand Finish of this Grand Slam gospel [we are three verses from the end], we have this hiccup, this waffling, this blip on the screen, this blemish. Doubting Jesus?
Back to the big decision you face, the uncertainty in your own life. Don’t panic. Read on into this story. Jesus meets them. As this gospel ends, Jesus makes it clear that he will always be with the eleven, and, in turn, with all of us, “even to the end of the age (verse 20).”
Don’t trust your heart. Don’t trust your thinking. Trust Jesus. He will be there. Give your uncertainty to him. Then wait. Pray. Be silent. And be still. Pressures may loom and anxiousness may press against you, the timeline you’ve been given may pass, but fear not, for Jesus is with you. And that alone matters more than anything else you’re experiencing.
PRAYER: Jesus, Lord and Savior, I trust you. Now help me mean what I say. Amen.