The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 is a tapestry of joy, doubt and hope. In these verses, the disciples are attempting to quell their feelings of despair upon learning of Jesus’ Resurrection. This startling news brought them joy and hope, yet the emptiness they felt upon learning of and witnessing the Crucifixion has not left them. The memories of the horrors they saw haunt them and cause doubt to surface. Though they doubted and feared, Jesus gave them a mission: to spread the Word of God to all nations. Yet He did not just leave them with that command. He also left them with the promise of guidance and fellowship; Jesus promised to be with the disciples (and with us) always.
If ever this verse is needed, it is today. It can be so easy to get swept away in the ever present ocean of fear – especially with the headlines we read. Every day there is a new story of sorrow. Financial crises, natural disasters and tyranny are common themes we not only read about but experience. By learning from the example of the disciples, it is possible to navigate the horrors of our world without having fear and doubt creep into our minds. The commandment laid at their feet was clear, but the promise of God was even clearer. God is with us in everything. Though the burdens of this life are great, we are still called to minister to those in need. We are still under the commandment of God to spread the Word to all nations. We just don’t have to do it alone.