Amazed!

Always good? Maybe not

Mark  6:1–4

6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”

This passage makes me sad. There Jesus is, in His own hometown, and He is not able to minister to the people with whom He has grown up. I get it… it was a shock to see good old Jesus suddenly doing amazing miracles all around when the townspeople thought of Him as a mostly typical person. He had to stand out, regardless, because He never sinned! No accidental words of anger, no inappropriate humor, no stretches of testing moral limits like most of us go through, the perfect sibling, the perfect son. I mean come on… He was always unique! There had to be clues He was more than only a man!

He starts his public ministry and the townspeople just can’t get past knowing Him as a “normal” guy. Many refuse to accept this change. It says Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. He is God and knows all but these people manage to amaze Him in their stubbornness and refusal to believe in Him. That’s not a compliment.

What a waste of amazement all around. The townspeople who “heard him were amazed… And took offense at him.” Then Jesus Himself, God in flesh “could not do any miracles there…” Nothing is impossible for Him, yet, He could not. Not, He wasn’t physically able, but He could not. The people’s lack of belief stood in their own way.

I see two important lessons here. First, we as Christians need to make it our goal to honor Jesus by believing him wholeheartedly and keeping our hearts open to his plans. Obviously our own unbelief can limit what He will do in our lives. We can be amazed at who He is, and still not open the door of our heart to His complete presence in our lives. My heart aches for those townspeople – they missed out on so much of God’s healing. What a waste! Likewise, God Himself is amazed at such hardness of heart. May we never amaze God in such a terrible way. Let’s put aside our stubbornness and haughty prejudices and come to Him in humility as we ought. May we be like David in II Samuel 6:14, who “dances before the Lord with all his might,” not caring about the judging eyes watching him. Or like Mary in Luke 7:38, wetting Jesus feet with her tears and wiping his feet with her own hair. Again, worshiping Jesus with abandon, oblivious to her hostile surroundings.

We can learn something about our human relationships, too. We can choose to see the possibilities in our friends and acquaintances. Ok, we are all plain old people. But God Himself, the Holy Spirit, is living in every person that has chosen to follow Him. He easily can do amazing things that you won’t expect. When we see that happen, we can be the encourager and supporter. Be humble with people, too, and realize you can learn from all God’s children, especially if you are amazed at the change! God gives every person talents and abilities. As He activates them, let’s be happy for our friends and neighbors. There’s no need for jealousy or criticism. Perhaps you’ve been that person recently exploring new gifts already or maybe you’re next in line. God is always working in our Christian communities to strengthen and build us up in our faith. We need not be amazed to see this! Or perhaps, just be sure it’s the “good” amazed!

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