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Worship and Doubt – Can They Co-Exist?

worship and doubt

Why doesn’t everyone include verses 16 and 17 in the “Great Commission?” I suspect because these two verses include topics rarely discussed in the lives a disciple: obedience, worship and doubt. Can we worship in the midst of doubt?

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16-17)

Imagine the scene around the resurrected Jesus: his best friends giving him worship in a private setting, yet in some minds and hearts there was still doubt. Yet their doubt did not disqualify them. He still received them, and he gave the “Great Commission.”

Worship and Doubt: Can They Co-Exist?

Doubt is a solitary struggle. Most expressions of worship are outward: we sing, kneel, pray, dance, bow, read, listen, and fellowship. Others see our actions, but this passage reminds us Jesus knows our hearts and thoughts as well. What kind of doubts did some of the disciples have? Matthew does not tell us. We are left to speculate: perhaps, “I don’t belong here . . . I denied the Lord . . . Have I gone mad? . . . Is this really Jesus? . . . What will he require of me?” I believe their worship was sincere; so were their doubts.

But the doubting disciples had obeyed. They had made their way to Galilee, just as Jesus instructed. Worship and doubt — Jesus did not turn away the doubters, he received their worship and included them in his mission. Disobedience would have kept them from hearing his voice; doubt did not.

What if worship is giving all of ourselves to God–even the parts that struggle to believe, to trust, to surrender? Perhaps that day the doubters discovered Isaiah’s description of Jesus was true: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Matt. 12:20)

Earlier in his ministry Jesus told his friends, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Some people have interpreted “truth” to mean “doctrine,” but what if Jesus also meant the truth about ourselves? Here’s a meditation worthy for the week: can I bring my doubts as an act of worship?


This article on worship and doubt originally appeared here, and is used by permission.