November 21

Text: Matthew 28:16, 17

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.  (NASB)

Much of Jesus’ ministry occurred in Galilee.  He grew up there (Matthew 2:22, 23).  He moved from Nazareth to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee which seemed to be his adult home (Matthew 4:13).  Most of his ministry in Judea seems to have been associated with pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Matthew devoted little of his writing to Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances.  He and Mark (Mark 14:28; 16:7) refer to a planned post-resurrection meeting in Galilee with the then eleven disciples.  Matthew said this meeting occurred at a designated place on an unnamed mountain.  Evidently there were numerous not discussed post-resurrection appearances (1 Corinthians 15:6-8).  There is no compelling reason to associate this mountain appearance with the John 21:1-14 seaside appearance.

This raises an interesting question: How many of the post-resurrection appearances to the eleven disciples were for the purpose of producing or bolstering faith in Jesus’ resurrection?  Is this another evidence of the strength of these men’s expectation that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom?  See Acts 1:6.  Expectations continue to powerfully influence belief!

Matthew’s statement in verse 17 causes us to ask, “Who were the ‘they’?”   That question is asked because “some” doubted.  Doubted what?  Jesus’ resurrection?  The kingdom that was to come?  What everything happening meant?  What the purpose of Jesus’ ministry was?  Were more than the eleven involved in this gathering?  Lots of questions exist, but they have no definitive answers.

Perhaps you ask, “Why bring all this up?”  For several reasons.  (1) Having and clinging to faith has NEVER been an easy endeavor that is a simple, automatic response of some people.  (2) Believing is one of many ways people look at life and human existence.  It is not a “default” response to things if all else fails.  (3)  It is a definite, aggressive investment of self in physical life.  It determines the kind of person we are, the kind of spouse we are, the kind of parent we are, the kind of friend we are, the kind of neighbor we are, and the kind of employee we are.  Believing is a way to live, not a copout convenience.

Suggestion for reflection:  Why do you believe in Jesus’ teachings?  (Read John 20:26-31.)
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