When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Matthew 28:17
I think that’s my favorite Easter passage. It says to me that worship and doubt can coexist, even among the most faithful of Jesus’ followers.
In our newsletter this week, we said that we were celebrating Doubt Week, as Doubting Thomas gets his yearly spotlight on Easter 2. But as this verse suggests, Thomas was not the only one to doubt. And in this passage, the resurrected Christ is standing right in front of the apostles. And still “some doubted.”
I want to know how the gospel writer knew that some doubted. Late one night, did one or the other of them bravely and vulnerably say, “You know, I have to tell you, at the time, I had my doubts,” and finally discover that he was not alone? What did it take to share that? And did the apostles get support when they were in the midst of doubt, or only find out once they had made their peace with their new-found understanding?
It fascinates me that the writer chose not to identify which of the apostles doubted, nor how many. We just know that it’s more than one, and that these are from the 11, the inner circle, the ones whose names we know. Thomas gets the doubter reputation, but at least someone else was in the same boat.
“Doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves,” Rachel Held Evans wrote in her memoir. And in the encounter with the risen Christ, the apostles had to wrap their brains around completely new information about Jesus, about God, about death, and about life. No wonder some doubted.
We celebrate doubt this week: Thomas’ doubt, which shows us the wounds in Christ’s body; the apostles’ doubt, which shows us we are not alone. And we give thanks for all of them, for showing that doubt is not the end point. Doubt is the place in which God becomes much greater than we had thought God could be.
May we find the support we need in our doubt, and support and love the doubters among us.