One of the most amazing lines in all Scripture is found in Matthew 28. No, I’m not talking about the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) or awe-struck reactions of the disciples to Jesus’ resurrection (Matt 28:1-10). It’s a single sentence, just 11 words, found in Matthew 28:17:
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
give some context, Jesus has risen, and commanded that His disciples meet Him in Galilee. So they go, and when they get there, they see Jesus and worship Him.
“But some doubted.”
The same Jesus who, just days before, was beaten beyond human likeness.Who was nailed to a roman cross. Whose heart was pierced by a spear to confirm His death. Whose body was wrapped in linens and sealed in a tomb for three days.
That same Jesus is standing before them. Literally, physically, in the flesh.
“But some doubted.”
It’s amazing to read this. I mean, I can understand a person today who doesn’t believe that Jesus is alive today. They can’t see Him. Feel Him. Speak directly to Him.
But these people…
And they still doubted.
This is a really important reminder for me. Without the Holy Spirit’s intervention—without God opening our eyes and enabling us to actually see and understand the gospel—we cannot believe.
We can examine incontrovertible evidence and still shrug our shoulders, saying, “Yeah… still not sure about that.”
Unless the Holy Spirit intervenes.
Oddly, there’s a great deal of comfort to be found here. There can be a lot of pressure that comes with evangelism and sharing our faith. Maybe we’ve been exposed to the notion that if you’re not leading X number of people to make a profession of faith every year, you’re not a good Christian and there’s something wrong with your relationship with Jesus—a notion of needing to make notches on your spiritual belt.
But this verse, among many, many others, reminds us that we can do the best job living Christ and proclaiming Him, but unless the Spirit opens a person’s eyes, they will still doubt.
An earlier version of this post was published in July 2009.