“…but some were doubtful.“ – Vs 17 (NASB)
Jesus has risen from the dead! The guards assigned to prevent anything from happening to the body and who worked for the High Priest are literally scared stiff. The women arrive at the tomb only to find it empty. An angel gives them orders to tell the disciples what has happened and to tell them the no-longer-dead Jesus is going to meet them in Galilee. As they run to tell the disciples the great news, Jesus Himself meets them and reminds them exactly what it is they are to do. Then when Jesus appears to His disciples – alive and well – Luke says, “some were doubtful.”
That blows my mind! How could they be doubtful? He had told them this was going to happen. They refused to believe it, but on more than one occasion Jesus had clearly said that He would be killed, but that He would rise again three days later. Now it had happened! These guys had watched Him die. Now He stood before them alive! But some doubted. Sure, Luke also says that some worshiped Him, but it’s hard to look past the fact that some were doubtful. The living Lord stood right before their eyes and they were doubtful. The Greek word for doubtful is distazo and it comes from the word dis, which means “twice.” They were literally wavering between two opinions. They wanted to believe that what they were seeing was true, but their common sense told them it was too good to be true. They were having difficulty reasoning this all out in their minds. Their senses were in conflict. It was a classic battle between faith and reason. And it is still going on today.
I have to ask myself which group I would have been in that day – the worshipers or the doubters? When Luke says that some worshiped, he uses a word that conveys the idea of falling upon your knees and touching the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence. It’s exactly what the women did when they encountered Jesus along the road in verse 9: “And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.” They were overcome with fear and joy. They recognized that they were in the presence of the Son of God and reacted accordingly. The disciples did the same thing when they saw Jesus – at least some of them. The others stood by doubting, wavering, and debating in their minds what exactly it was they were witnessing. Did they think they were seeing a ghost? Was this all a dream? Had Jesus not really died? It’s interesting that Mark records in his gospel that when the women first told the disciples that they had seen Jesus alive, “they refused to believe it” (Mark 16:11). Why? Because it was unbelievable! The impossible had just happened. Now that they were standing in front of Jesus themselves, they went from disbelief to doubt. It was hard to deny that something had happened, but they just weren’t sure what it was.
And many of us are still doubting today. At one time we were disbelieving. We denied the reality of Jesus and the need for Him to be our Savior. But then we placed our faith in Him and become Christ-followers. But at some point, doubt set in. We have seen Him work in and around our lives, but we waver and doubt in our minds whether it was really Him. We face struggles and trials and know we should turn to Him, but we doubt that He can really help. We allow our minds to overwhelm our faith. We let reason convince us that He isn’t real or, at least, He isn’t reliable. So we doubt. He is standing right in front of us, alive and well, with all the resurrection power He had that day He walked out of the grave, but we stand on the edge wavering in our belief. We are His doubting disciples. And if we are doubting Him, it is impossible to truly worship Him. You can’t truly worship and waver at the same time. He is risen. He is alive. He is exactly Who He said He was. The Son of God and the Savior of the world. The cure for wavering is worship. Quit standing around doubting and debating. Get on your knees and acknowledge Him for Who He is.
Father, Your Son is alive and I want to be one of the worshipers, not the the waverers. I want to be the one who is on my knees in reverence and awe, not standing around wondering if all this is really true. Forgive me for doubting so often the reality of the resurrected Lord. I confess that there are times I reveal my doubt in my fears and apprehensions, or in my refusal to obey Your commands. I doubt and it shows up in my actions. But Your Son is alive and He has proven Himself so in my life. I have no reason to doubt. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men