Weekly Devotional – Wednesday, April 13, 2022
“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!” (Matthew 28:16-17, NLT)
Matthew records a curious fact about Jesus’ closest disciples, those known as the apostles. Jesus is about to return to heaven after having resurrected from the dead and having appeared to various individuals over the course of forty days. What is curious? Some of them doubted! How is that possible? After everything they have seen and learned and done, not everyone was 100% convinced.
But what exactly did they doubt? Maybe that Jesus was the Messiah…on the surface nothing appeared to have changed—the Romans were still in charge, things were far from peaceful and Jesus didn’t sit on a throne in Jerusalem. Maybe they doubted Jesus’ promise to remain with them. How could he do so now that he was leaving? Possibly they doubted that he would return…they had waited so long for Jesus to come in the first place. What good would come if he took thousands of years more to fulfill his work. Or possibly they doubted their own ability to do the work Jesus was telling them was now theirs to do. They weren’t Jesus! How could they possibly complete such a huge task as ‘going to the whole world?’
But all doubts aside, Jesus knew this was his moment to return to heaven, while his apostles carried on his work of spreading the news of God’s love to all people. They had worshipped him on the mountain, the location of their last meeting, but his final act confirmed who he was. Rather than just disappearing…*poof*…he ascended into heaven, allowing them to watch him go. Luke tells us that they stayed that way a long time, wondering what might happen next. Eventually angels came to them, ““Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go” (Acts 1:11)! Whatever doubts they may have had should have been eased as they watched their friend and teacher, ascend into heaven as their God.
Do you experience some of the same doubts that the disciples may have felt? Was Jesus really the Messiah? Is Jesus truly with us today? It’s been so long, is he actually coming back? How can we possibly go to the whole world, preach and baptize, when most of us have trouble talking to our friends and neighbours about Jesus?
Remember how Jesus left—as our God—and what the angels promised—he will return!
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!