August 16, 2017
What did it take to amaze Jesus? Great question isn't it? Whether you regard Jesus as a great man, a miracle worker, or the Son of God, you'd have to admit that to bring him to a state of amazement would not have been an easy feat.
For those who do believe that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, second person of the Trinity, and the long-awaited Messiah, the question takes on special significance. After-all, what would it take to stop Jesus in his tracks and be startled into amazement over something.
There are two instances in the Gospels where we are told Jesus was amazed. The Greek word used in both passages make clear that Jesus found himself startled and awestruck by what he just encountered. He stood in wonderment of what he just experienced.
The first is found in Matthew's Gospel (Matt 8:5-13) when a centurion approaches Jesus to heal his young servant who was paralyzed and in pain. Jesus responds to the request by saying he will come to the man's home and heal the boy.
Instead of the centurion leading Jesus to his home he does something rather unusual. He says, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed." (Matt. 8:8 NLT)
This is how Jesus responded.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, "I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in all Israel! "Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened." And the young servant was healed that same hour. (Mat 8:10, 13 NLT)
The man who astonished him was a Roman centurion who indicated how well he understood the divine authority of Jesus. He asked Jesus to simply speak the word that would immediately heal a paralyzed servant back at the centurion’s home. His faith in Jesus was rewarded.
I think there is a great lesson here, one that is often missed due to the miraculous nature of the healing. The thing that amazed Jesus was the man's faith, and faith that is demonstrated as ultimate trust in Jesus.
A Roman man, with a military background, who the Jews would likely have considered unworthy, unclean, and an enemy of the state, is the one who astonishes the Son of God with his faith.
The second instance is found in Mark 6:6. It is found in a passage where Jesus is back in his hometown of Nazareth teaching in the synagogue (Mark 6:1-6). We are told that the people hearing him are amazed at his teaching, as well as his wisdom and power to perform miracles.
One would think that the people witnessing Jesus would immediately embrace him as their Messiah. Instead what we read is that they begin to scoff and deride his heritage and family and refuse to believe in him. So much so, that they are even offended. How dare a simple carpenter, whose family they knew, dare to present himself as more than he is.
The text continues by stating their faith was so lacking, Jesus couldn’t do many miracles – he could only touch a few sick people and heal them. Imagine that?
The narrative concludes with this verse.
And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. (Mark. 6:6 NLT)
There's that word again. In this instance, the unbelief of the people amazes Jesus. Scripture presents us with two separate stories where Jesus was amazed. Both related to people's faith, the first being the amazing level of authentic faith, the second, the incredible lack of it.
Here is Jesus shocked by his own people, who were miraculously saved from Egypt, who had Moses, the Law, the Stone Tablets, the prophets, the miracles, the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Scriptures, and on and on and Jesus is amazed at their lack of faith!
Which begs an important question. How important is faith? If its the one thing that amazed Jesus, both positively and negatively, should it not be something we need to take more seriously. Why would Jesus celebrate it when its evident yet be so disappointed when its not.
In my next post I'm going to talk about the importance of faith and ponder this question further. For you and for me, its too important a question for any of us to ignore. After-all, its the one thing that caused Jesus, the Son of God, to experience amazement.
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