Matthew 28:16-20 "But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo,I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus' appearance to the disciples in Galilee was physical, and it was accompanied by Him speaking and dialoguing with them. He had already appeared on several occasions. There was no way anyone could have any doubt after all was said and done. And yet there was doubt. The question is: how did such doubt function in the face of otherwise unassailable evidence?
Different types of doubt
These four types of doubt could be placed along a spectrum of doubt ranging from the most hostile at one end due to it's purposeful knowing and oert denial of the evidence (i.e denial doubt) to ignorant doubt at the other end which has incomplete knowledge and thus lacks complete trust. The other two types of doubt fit in between, with all four pictured below:
Denial Provisional Philosophical Ignorant
Doubt Doubt Doubt Doubt
Only God's supernatural power through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit can overthrow doubt at any level
Whenever we see the disciples in Matthew 28:17 having doubt, we must ask: what or Whom overcame their doubts? Acts 1:8 recounts Jesus telling them to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. The contrast between the uncertainy in Matthew 28:17 and the disciples' boldness and faith 50 days later in Acts 2 is profoundly different. Only two conclusions can be drawn as to how a group of doubting, uncertain disciples could become so bold - Jesus had indeed risen from the dead and the Holy Spirit had came upon them and in them as Jesus said.
When the Spirit's working and Christ's authority is brought to bear with the scriptures, the power to overwhelm any doubt is manifested. God's grace is the only thing that can be credited to anyone trusting in the Lord and overcoming their doubts. Any persistence in doubt is that person's fault, without any blame to be given to God or the evidence of scripture. Scripture describes faith or the ability of firm persuasion that overcomes any unbelief as something that arrives from God to the doubter or the sinner. (Galatians 3:23-25; James 1:18) Such supernatural faith operating in the human heart must be fed by scripture if it is to grow (1 Peter 2:1-2). We know doubts can arise, but thankfully God grants faith as a gift that in turn enables the one doubting to trust and say: "I believe!" (Ephesians 2:8-9).