Gospel Matthew 28:16-20

“When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated.”

After having been with Jesus for three years or so as he carried out his public ministry, after witnessing his arrest and gruesome execution, and then having experienced him resurrected, the Disciples, bound for Galilee saw Jesus, alive and in the flesh, and, while most fell down before him (presumably in worship and adoration) we read that ‘some hesitated.’

This is extraordinary inasmuch as it gives a real emphasis to the reality of the events it reports. The disciples were real guys who, despite all that they had witnessed were even now somewhat reluctant. At least a couple hesitate in bowing down before the Lord Jesus.

Witnessing the bloody death of Jesus, and both the reports of, and actual appearances of the resurrected Lord, these disciples were perhaps supernaturally fatigued. They had seen the depths of human depravity, and the glories of the Risen Lord, and now they hesitate. One can almost feel the weary confusion” “What am I to make of all this?”

Then Jesus speaks. He gives them authority, and bids them to go out and proclaim the Good News of his death and resurrection, and to baptise all in the name of the Triune God. Then he assures them of his ongoing presence, until the end of time.

Jesus puts the responsibility of his saving mission into the hands of this rag-tag group of blokes, some of whom we are told, hesitate.

This should, in fact, be an incredible encouragement for us who strive, and so often fail to live in an awareness of the reality of the ongoing presence of the Lord. Jesus, aware of our own hesitancy as he was of some of his original disciples still commissions us to be the bearers of his salvation to the world around us.

Let us pray that we would remain aware of the presence of the Risen Christ and His Holy Spirit amongst us.

Food for thought

‘The Christian message announces the permanence of the fact of Christ, as a continuous happening – not something that happened once – but as something that still happens.’

  • Luigi Giussani, Why the Church?, 203