While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. - Luke 24:36-53

One of my favorite things about this passage is how unoffended Jesus is at the disciples for being unsure of what to believe. He holds them to a high standard in that He expects that, of all people, they should be the first to believe it truly is Him who has been risen back to life. But while he holds this standard, he also gives a lot of grace by explaining logical, human reasons as to why it must be Him in His risen form. He then reminds them of things He told them that hinted to this happening, and then when they still couldn't understand, He opens their minds to understand the Scripture. Jesus didn't have some strict version of what the disciples had to believe right from the start, He was interested in whether or not their hearts would turn to Him.

Once Jesus has seen the disciples reach a new level in their faith by believing He is the Risen One, He gives them another opportunity for growth in their faith. He tells them that this amazing news is going to be spread through all of the nations and it would begin in Jerusalem - but then He tells them to wait for power from on high. And because they chose to have faith and choose to believe what Jesus was saying, they get blessed by Him and are able to freely worship the Lord.

I think there are many of us who sometimes experience doubts about God. It's not something that's fun to admit because it makes us feel like we're not as good of Christians. But it's not the doubts and the questions that make or break us - it's what we do with them. The disciples were right in front of Jesus and were able to deal with their doubts with Him. By carrying our doubts to God, we are given an opportunity to grow in our faith. And Jesus shows us here that God is not scared or mad at us for our doubts - He actually does everything possible to fix our doubts. 

Whatever your doubt is, place it in the blank -

God, thank You for not abandoning me when my understanding is imperfect. I believe you are real and you are good, help me, Lord with my unbelief! I know you are good, but help me understand _______. Help me understand how ________, but you are also good. Help me not stay in a place where I am not fully understanding your character. I want to know you. Amen.

- Michele Houston