Can Worship and Doubt Coexist?

worship and doubt

Reading the full context of a Bible passage (it’s called a pericope) can radically improve our understanding of the message. I once learned a great deal about the relationship between worship and doubt by looking at the two verses that come just before the famous Great Commission verses.

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)

Can Worship and Doubt Coexist?

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? Can worship and doubt coexist?

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.”

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.