This series on the “Great Commission” now turns to look at the things which Matthew mentions but which are omitted by Luke in his account. Let’s start off by looking at what might be seen as the prologue to the commission:
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.
In passing, I love the mention that ‘some doubted’. Even after all they had seen, some of the disciples found it hard to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. It is easy to understand why they doubted, the whole thing was so mind-blowing and unlikely that doubt is a perfectly natural response and the Bible is brutally honest about the disciples. A modern author might have ignored that little point, or edited the Wikipedia page to remove the embarrassing doubts, but not the Bible!
However, the proper response to Jesus is not doubt, it is worship. If we are not moved to worship him, then it is unlikely that we will get off our metaphorical rear ends to witness to him to the ends of the earth either. Worship is the start of mission; it involves appreciating, enjoying and reflecting back to Christ his greatness, grace and majesty. If we can’t be moved to tell Jesus how wonderful he is, we are unlikely to be moved to tell the same thing to our neighbours!
Just one more comment in passing. When it says that they worshipped, I don’t for one moment believe that Nathaniel picked up a guitar and, with his head tilted slightly to one side and his eyes closed, started to lead the disciples in a worship song. Somewhere along the line, the word worship has become synonymous with singing (and limited to a certain type of song). We need to reclaim the word worship!
… worship as the Bible characterizes it cannot be limited to singing praise and worship songs to God. Although it includes this, it is far more all-encompassing than that. Worship is nothing less than offering our whole lives back to God though Jesus. It is taking all the elements that make up human life, (family, friendships, money, work, nation etc.) and presenting them back to the One who gives them their ultimate meaning in the first place. (See the whole quote and the source, here.)