by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse: Mark 6:6, "And he was amazed at their unbelief. . ." (NLT)
Envision the face of someone who is amazed. Astonished. The person is completely taken aback by something. There's the good kind of amazement, like when a child displays a great skill or a stranger surprises you with incredible kindness. But there's also the not-so-good kind, more like disgust. For example, picture a sports fan who disagrees with a ref's call. Get the picture? I see eyes opened wide, a dropped jaw, a negative headshake, and maybe even hands thrown up in the air to reinforce the thought: "Un-be-LEIV-able!"
Mark 6 opens with Jesus visiting his hometown of Nazareth. While teaching at the synogogue, the hometown folks were astonished and asked, "Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles? He's just the carpenter, son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters are right here among us."(v. 2-3, NLT). He's just the local boy, right? Who does he think he is?
They couldn't believe what they were seeing. In fact, the next verse says they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. They acknowledged his wisdom and powerful miracles, but they still didn't believe?! Come on!
The text goes on to say that because of their unbelief, Jesus couldn't do any mighty miracles among them except to heal a few people. Their unbelief--their lack of faith--put up a wall that blocked any powerful miracles Jesus may have wanted to do. And then scripture records this statement: he was amazed at their unbelief.
Some translations say he was "astonished" at their lack of faith. When I read that, I pictured Jesus throwing his arms up in the air and shaking his head at them.
And that's when it hit me--hard! I wonder how many times a day he is astonished at my lack of faith. I wonder how many times a day he just looks at me in amazement, eyes opened wide and jaw dropped as he thinks, "Kathy, seriously, I can NOT believe that your faith is so small."
And that makes my heart hurt. I don't want Jesus to be astonished at my lack of faith in him being right there wanting to work miracles in my crazy day-to-dayness. I don't want my wall of unbelief to prevent him from doing what he wants to do.
The next time I astonish my Lord, I want it to be in the good way--the child-displaying-skill way. I want him shaking his head with a smile that conveys, "See Kath? See where a little faith will take you?" THAT'S the way I want to amaze him.
Lord, we don't want to be like the hometown folks of Nazareth! You're right here among us wanting to work miracles in our daily lives, but we prevent it when we forget just who you really are. Forgive us for our unbelief and increase our faith. Help us to amaze you in the good way. By the power in your mighty Name, Jesus.
For a biblical example of astonishing Jesus in the good way, read about the faith of the Roman officer in Matthew 8. He understood the concept of authority and knew Jesus had it. Notice Jesus' reaction in verse 10. Visualize it. How does he look? Etch that picture into your memory and strive to astonish Jesus daily in that way.
Luke 17:5-6, "The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!' He replied, 'If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.'" (NIV)
Matthew 8:10, "When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, 'I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.'"(NIV)
Matthew 9:22, "Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, 'Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.' And the woman was healed at that moment."(NLT)