Dispelling the Dark Cloud of Doubts
Text: Matthew 28 : 1 - 20
We must not think that Galilee was the only place Jesus met with His disciples. A careful study of the Gospels would reveal that Jesus also appeared to His disciples in Jerusalem. In Luke 24, we have a fairly extensive teaching session that Jesus gave to two of His disciples on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). These two disciples finally realized that the Companion who walked alongside was in fact none other than their beloved Teacher. He had indeed risen from the dead!
Swiftly, they made their way back to their friends in Jerusalem. It was a long walk back, but their legs found new strength because of the renewed sense of faith and joy they felt in their hearts! As they excitedly shared with the eleven about their encounter with the Risen Lord, they discovered that Jesus was in their midst! Though the doors were locked, He appeared in the midst. In that meeting, Jesus also addressed the problem of doubts.
“Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood
In the midst of them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you.’
But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed
they had seen a spirit.
And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why
do doubts arise in your hearts?”
Even though the disciples had seen Jesus alive, doubts persisted. The same dark cloud of doubts hung over the head of some of the disciples, even when they saw Jesus in Galilee. Obviously, more must be done to dispel the dark clouds of doubts. How could this be done?
DEEPER INSTRUCTION IN THE FAITH
Luke emphasized an important fact. Jesus devoted much time to teach His disciples all over again.
“Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you
while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which
were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms
concerning Me.’ Then He opened their understanding, that they
might comprehend the Scriptures.”
Luke continued to make that same emphasis in his sequel, The Book of Acts.
“Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in
which He was taken up,
after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments
to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also
presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible
proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking
of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
MORE THAN EVER
Jesus had just forty days before His Ascension to heaven. He had completed His task on earth. All that the Father had assigned to Him, He had fulfilled. The next stage of God’s plan must be clearly understood. It involved the disciples. More than ever before, they must seek to carry on the torch of faith. They must carry on where Jesus had left off. His work, nobody else could do. He had come to be that Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. He had effectively done that when He suffered and gave His life on the Cross at Golgotha.
He had risen from the dead. The disciples must first be convinced of this great truth! But much more was expected of them. They must pay close heed to what Jesus was going to teach them. Their understanding must be further opened. They must comprehend the Scriptures in greater depth. Whatever doubts they harboured in their hearts must be dispelled completely.
THE NEXT STAGE OF GOD’S PLAN
There was another stage! God’s plan did not end with sending Jesus to earth to teach, to preach and to heal. God’s plan included a vital part that would involve the disciples. On a number of occasions, Jesus spoke to His disciples about how He wanted them to be His witnesses. To the disciples in Jerusalem, Jesus emphasized an important truth.
“And you are witnesses of these things.”
Just before He returned to His Father in glory, Jesus once again reminded His disciples that they were to be His witnesses.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come
upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me, in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
FORTY IMPORTANT DAYS
The next forty days were going to be vitally important. There was much to be done if the disciples were to be ready for the next stage of God’s plan. Doubts must be dealt with… Areas of weaknesses must be strengthened. There must be great clarity of heart and mind concerning the work that the disciples were going to attempt.
1. Jesus would no longer be with them physically
The disciples must get used to this important fact! Jesus appeared to them intermittently. The disciples needed to adjust to this new development.
2. The Holy Spirit of God would take over
This truth was vital to comprehend. Of all lessons, this one must be learned well.