Journal Matt 28 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
And when they saw him, they worshipped 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.”” Matt 28:16-20
Observation: This is a familiar set of verses. I noticed a couple of things that caused me to scratch my head.
Analysis: It is easy to skim over sections of scripture that are familiar. In doing so, perhaps I miss some things I should be wondering about. I don’t have to be a scholar to unpack a verse or 4.
Take this for instance: Out of eleven disciples, all of which saw Jesus appear to them privately (as a group at a meal) after the resurrection (c. Mark 16:14), went to the mountain, and some of them still doubted.
Doubted what? That Jesus was really in bodily form and alive? They touched and handled him for goodness sake. Thomas was even invited to stick his fingers and hand into Jesus’ wounds. What was there to doubt?
That is a question to seek an answer about. If some of those pinheads had doubts, what would subsequent generations of pinhead converts (like me) have in similar fashion? I can’t imagine what doubts any of the Eleven would have what would be parallel in me. Something for me to consider… I wonder if their doubts could be related to the Parable of the Soils…. how deep and rich is my dirt?
Here is something else: Jesus said that he has been given all authority about heaven and earth. All. All authority. In heaven, ok, I can see that. On earth. Just a minute, what about the enemy (the prince of the power of the air, Eph 2:2): doesn’t that creature own earth stuff? I don’t think so, and if I remember Job 1-3, I see who the boss is forever.
Lastly (for this section of scripture), what am I supposed to do: Evangelize or make Disciples? Not the same thing. Besides, I am a convert, a responder to an evangelistic message. Am I learning to be a disciple? Am I being taught to observe all that Jesus commanded me to observe? Am I taking responsibility to press into holiness and godliness?
Does walking worthy of the calling in which I have been called; walking worthy of the Gospel, consume me? Really consume me?
It is stuff like this that the daily Bible readings should be bubbling up in hearts. Journaling should have these questions, observations, and sometimes answers—so I can go back and rekindle questions that have gone stale and, in another way, perhaps celebrate growth and illumination.
Stay persistent, my friends.
Prayer: Lord God, you see my heart this morning. I am struggling to put one foot in front of the other. Perhaps it isn’t that bad, but it sure feels like it. I am attempting to tamp down my feelings and let my mind rule my feelings. Hard. Difficult. My feelings want to run wild.
The discipline of reading and journaling helps so very much. I orient my thoughts towards heaven and You, O God.
Help me to pray unceasingly today.
Bring revival. AMEN.