Here’s a question: Can you think of any doubters in the Bible?
Of course, the number one suspect is Doubting Thomas. Thomas kind of gets a bum rap, in my opinion. In the Bible, it’s not just Thomas who doubted. Think about it: Everyone did! Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, and the list goes on. They all were doubters. Even Jesus’ family thought He was crazy. All the disciples ran away in doubt, not just Thomas.
A dump truck full of doubters, and God doesn’t give up on any of them.
Obviously God says, “Doubters are welcomed here.”
God didn’t ask people to pretend and try to manufacture certainty. He accepted them where they were and asked them to be faithful and step forward through the doubt and in the doubt.
On doubt, I have a couple of favorite verses that come right before the Great Commission. The placement of these verses is significant. Jesus is about to send the disciples out on mission as His emissaries to the entire world. It’s a big moment to say the least. These are the last words used to describe the disciples in the Gospel of Matthew. Get ready for last glimpse of men who followed Jesus for three years, learned from Him, saw Him crucified, saw Him resurrected. Here what is says…
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Mathew 28:16-17
Incredible. Post-resurrection. Doubts still present and accounted for.
Matthew doesn’t cover this up (which by the way is another proof to the authenticity of the gospel writer. Why would anyone making up a story like this actually advertise that the leaders have doubts?!?).
In the face of their doubts, what does Jesus say next?
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18, 20
Jesus didn’t say, “Once your absolute certain to the core. Then, go!”
He looks at these worshipping, doubting guys and says, “You go! You doubters, go. Go tell the world the good news about me, the very news your doubting with your own eyes right now. I know it seems too good to be true. So, get up and go, doubters. I’ll go with you. As you go to share about me with others, you’ll find your own doubts being healed. You’ll have new doubts along the way, I’ll be with you in those too, standing right in front of you.”
Disciples are not people who never doubt. They doubt and worship. They doubt and serve. They doubt and help each other with their doubts. To be a community where everybody can be open about their faith and open about their doubts … what a great gift! That’s what we’re intentionally leaning into together with this next series: DOUBT.
This summer we’ll be exploring the important role of doubt in our development. The goal is humility more than certainty; inquiry, not inquisition. We’re inviting you to embrace doubt as a necessary companion and explore how to travel through doubt with intellectual rigor and an open heart to Jesus at the same time. We will explore some of the significant intellectual barriers people of genuine faith experience.
* June 25 - Is Jesus Dead?
* July 2 - God is a Genocidal Maniac?
* July 9 - Did God Give Mom Cancer?
* July 16 - Is God Narrow-Minded?
* July 23 - Is God Sending Good People to Hell?
You can tell, we’re not going to try to skirt around the issues or duck the tough questions. But, we’re going to walk right toward Jesus with our worship and our doubts. I know we’re going to see the resurrected Christ among us. Come ready to engage heart and mind…and invite a friend, many of which are dealing with the same intellectual barriers to First Love.