When it comes to the end of his story of Jesus, Matthew rushes. He talks about the garden scene, he talks about the soldiers, and then he jumps to the end of Jesus’ time physically on earth.
Mark and Luke and John give us more details. Matthew wraps things up with a homework assignment from Jesus. More on that tomorrow.
Today I want to reflect on a detail that Matthew does give us.
The eleven went to Galilee, as they had been told. (This was a few weeks after the scene in the garden on the morning Jesus came back to life. That’s part of Matthew’s rushing.)
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. Then Jesus came to them and said… (Matthew 28:16-18)
After watching the death and seeing Jesus alive at several gatherings (which Matthew doesn’t record), how could anyone doubt? What kind of person would experience the evidence and then wonder?
A human one. A factual one.
Perhaps one exactly like Matthew.
Mark talks about Jesus scolding the disciples for doubting. And since many people believe that Mark had gathered his version of the story from Peter, what actually went to the empty tomb, that makes sense. Peter would have reported the scolding.
Matthew, on the other hand, reports on the doubt.
When they looked on ahead and saw Jesus, some of them weren’t sure it was him standing there. Some weren’t sure they could trust their eyes. Some wanted a bit more data that this actually was Jesus.
Because doubt is often only on the inside, particularly in a crowd, Matthew may be telling on himself. Then Jesus walks up to them.
And then Matthew writes this book.