A thought just occurred to me. God has given us his plan for participating in the continuing inbreaking of his future New Creation within and through the context of our daily lives. It’s described by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. We are to help people become apprentices of Jesus’ life by going into the nations, by immersing apprentices into the Trinitarian reality that exists in the community of God’s people who gather and embody Jesus’ life and purpose, and by teaching apprentices to obey and live in the fullness of that life in God’s kingdom as Jesus himself embodied, demonstrated and announced. It’s a good plan. In fact, I would have to say, coming from the eternal mind of God, it’s a great plan.
However, look who Jesus has entrusted to implement his good plan. It’s the two verses before Matthew 28:18-20. “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.” (vss. 16-17)
The inner core of Jesus’ community is a very diverse group of people — some worshipped Jesus while others doubted. God’s good plan has been given to this imperfect community of people where some of the closest to Jesus actually doubt. I can understand delegating this world-transforming plan to the worshippers. But, come on. To the doubters?
But then something else catches my eye in verse 16. All eleven men went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. In other words, they all obeyed. Even the doubters obeyed in the midst of their doubt. Maybe it was the faith of the worshippers that compelled them. Maybe it was their own budding faith in the midst of the amazing and mysterious events of the crucifixion and resurrection. Who knows?
But this says a few things to me. First, the vision of a perfect community of God’s people that carries out God’s plan is a pipe-dream. Jesus knew it would not exist so he didn’t wait for perfection, or even maturity. That gives me hope for my own life and for the community I live with. Jesus has entrusted into our imperfect hands his world-transforming revolution.
Second, and intimately linked to the first, Jesus entrusts his plan to those who obey and show up. Why? Probably because the maturity for the journey comes in the journey. (A great example is the Fellowship of the Ring where the maturity of character needed to complete the task is forged on the journey toward the task.)
I think of Peter who answered for group when asked by Jesus, “You do not want to leave too, do you” by saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69). But isn’t that life? Who’s got God’s kingdom figured out? I sure don’t. I’m constantly in a process of deconstruction and reconstruction. But that seems to be good enough for Jesus most of the time.
Third, the entire implementation of the plan requires a community that although imperfect, gathers in the Trinitarian reality of love. Because I bet whether that community is a small house church, a network of communities or a large institutional church, there are people who worship and others who doubt. And we all need each other. Because at any moment the worshippers may doubt and the doubters may worship. Again, that’s part of the journey. But in the process, the Spirit in each of us ministers to all.
I’m sure there’s more to unpack, but that’s all I’ve got time for right now.