“When [the eleven disciples] saw [Jesus] they worshiped Him, but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:17) The word translated there as “doubt” can also have the meaning of “hesitate”. I think this make sense. It is not that they were doubting the resurrection. They could see Jesus. At this point He had already appeared to them several times and even Thomas had seen and believed.
Rather, the disciples of Jesus, at least some of them, hesitate. “When they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some hesitated.” Why would they hesitate to worship Jesus?
They would hesitate for the same reason that you and I might hesitate to worship another human being: there is only one God, and Him ALONE shall you worship! For as much love and respect and awe that they had at the sight of Jesus risen from the dead, some of the disciples wonder if they should worship Him. Is that a bridge too far, a line they dare not cross?
It is not. Jesus takes away their fear. He calms their doubt. While they may hesitate to worship Him, the disciples do trust His word.
So when Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” they know what that means. When Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” they know what that means. It means that Jesus is God.
Because it is Trinity Sunday the temptation is to jump all over the baptismal formula as proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. And it is, plain and simple. But the Trinity is all over this passage, not just in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is telling them that they need not hesitate to worship Him, just as they worship the Father, because He too is God.
You see, there cannot be two beings with “all authority in heaven and on earth”. There can only be one with all authority. Just as there cannot be two world’s strongest man, or two world’s most powerful woman. Someone is going to win out. One must be stronger or more powerful than the other.
So if Jesus has all authority, then either God does not have all authority, or Jesus is God. And there you have it, the Son of God is God. He is worthy of worship. Do not hesitate to worship Him.
Yet some do to this day. You and I, we sometimes hesitate to worship Jesus. Why is that?
I do not mean here, in the divine service. Here we are not really gathered to worship God so much as we are to receive the benefits of His death and resurrection.
Worship, Saint Paul tells us, happens every day of our lives. Worship occurs as we become living, walking sacrifices to Jesus Christ. Worship is in the nitty, gritty, details of daily existence as we struggle to obey God’s commands and trust His promises.
It is not so much in here that we hesitate, but out there. And he who hesitates is lost.
We hesitate, perhaps, for the same reason that the disciples did: we doubt Jesus’ divinity. O, sure, we say that we believe Jesus is God, but when it comes down to it we treat Him like something far less.
Jesus was an interesting teacher, a spiritual adviser, a coach, a mentor, an inspiration. But at the end of the day, He was only human, so I don’t really have to do what He says if I don’t want to.
If I don’t want to be baptized, then I don’t have to be. If I don’t want to go to church, then I will just skip it, no big deal. If I desire sex before marriage, well then I guess Jesus was just wrong on that point. I can hate, cheat, gossip, or lie, when I need to, because what is Jesus really going to do about it.
We hesitate to worship Jesus every moment of our lives because we don’t really believe that He is who He said He is.
I mean, really, God tells you something, the being who created the world, who has all authority, and you are going to ignore Him, or disobey Him, or neglect even the teensiest, tiniest part of His Word? Really? Does that make any sense to you?
Christians hesitate to worship Jesus in the world because we doubt His divinity. We hesitate because we are not quite sure that we need to do everything that He says.
This is why the doctrine of the Trinity is necessary. This is why we need to know for sure that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, because it removes all hesitation.
It was not a guru who died on the cross. It was not a mere teacher or inspirational leader who made atonement for your sins. It was not a spiritual coach who rose from the dead. It was God.
Only the blood of God Himself could remove the stain of our hesitation. Only the sacrifice of the divine being could remove the curse of our sin. If Jesus is not God then we are still in our sins, and we are headed straight for hell.
Jesus is divine. He reassures His disciples of this fact. He reassures us. He has all authority. He is with us always. He is God.
In baptism, in the Lord’s Supper, in every syllable of His Word, Jesus Christ is there, always. He is forgiving our hesitation with the power of the cross and transforming it into faith.