Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)
Yesterday we saw that we must be available in order for God to use us. But there something else that is required before we can truly serve God. We must have the right attitude towards Him.
Notice that when the eleven disciples saw Jesus they worshiped Him. This is very interesting because one might think that this was the first time that these young men saw Jesus after He rose from the dead. If that were the case then falling down and prostrating themselves before Jesus (which is what the word “worshiped” means in the original Greek) makes sense. But this was not the case.
After the women saw Jesus at the garden tomb in Jerusalem Jesus appeared to the disciples as well [Luke 24:13-49; John 20:26, 21:1-17]. So the events of today’s passage, which took place in Galilee, are not the first time they had seen Jesus after His resurrection. They had seen Him several times before this.
All of which tells us that the disciples attitude towards Jesus at this point was full submission. Just like we must be available for God to use us, we must also be in full submission to Him. We must recognize Jesus for who He is – God – and we must have surrendered our will to His.
One can have all the talent in the world, but if she doesn’t recognize Jesus for who He is and isn’t willing to submit her life completely to Him, then God will not be able to use her.
But notice that some doubted. This phrase can’t refer to any of the disciples as we know they had seen Jesus before and by this point even doubting Thomas believed. Instead it tell us that the disciples were not the only ones present in this scene.
It wouldn’t make sense for Jesus to send His disciples up to Galilee from Jerusalem, a trip of about 5 days on foot, just to send them back to Jerusalem for His ascension several days later. As we learned yesterday, most of Jesus’ followers were from Galilee which is why He went back there and it is likely that there were hundreds of people listening to Him here on the mountain. Apparently, and understandably, some people had a hard time believing that Jesus had risen from the dead (perhaps they thought they were seeing an imposter).
The inclusion of this phrase by Matthew helps to prove the integrity of the Bible. If the gospel writers had made up the story of Jesus’ resurrection they never would have included this information. Those who are attempting to manipulate history don’t include information that undermines their cause, at least not without cleaning it up or explaining it away. They don’t leave it hanging out there as Matthew does. When someone lies about something important he doesn’t hesitate to tell lesser lies to support the bigger lie.
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