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Would Your Lack of Faith Amaze Jesus?

September 27, 2016 • Life for Leaders

[Jesus] could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Mark 6:5-6

 

Limiting a row of dominoes from all fallingFor a considerable time, Jesus had been proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom of God in the eastern parts of Galilee. Finally, he returned to his hometown of Nazareth and began teaching in the synagogue. At first the townsfolk were amazed by his wisdom. But their wonder turned to offense when they considered that Jesus lacked special training or impressive credentials. “Isn’t this the carpenter?” they asked (6:3). As a result of their unbelief, Jesus “could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them” (6:5). Mark tells us that Jesus was “amazed at their lack of faith” (6:6).

One of my first reactions to this story is that I would consider it a banner day if I laid my hands on several sick people who were instantly healed. But, of course, Jesus had a more impressive track record than I do when it comes to demonstrations of divine power. Nevertheless, his ability to exercise this power depended, at least to a considerable extent, on the willingness of the people to believe in him. This is consistent with God’s work among his people most of the time. Every now and then God breaks through our unbelief with dramatic signs, take the case of Paul on the road to Damascus, for example. But, for the most part, God chooses to act in a way that respects our trust in him, even if this limits God’s actions among us. To put it more positively, God does great things in and through us when we have great faith in him. We saw evidence of this recently in the story of the woman who touched Jesus’ robe and was healed because of her strong faith (Mark 5:24-34).

I wonder how many times my own lack of faith has limited God’s work. I wonder how often Jesus has been amazed by my unbelief. I don’t like to think about this. But this story from Mark’s Gospel challenges me to be honest about my shortcomings in faith, to confess them, and to ask the Lord to help me trust him more. The last thing I want to do is to limit God’s miracles because of my unbelief. I expect you would agree. So, please join me in the following reflections and prayer.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

Can you think of times in your life when your lack of faith might have limited God’s work in and through you?

What helps you to grow in your faith?

Is God calling you to trust him in new ways?

PRAYER:

Gracious Lord, I can so easily see myself in this story. You know, far better than I, how many times I have failed to trust you. How sad it makes me to think that I have limited your power in my life. Forgive me, Lord. Give me a deeper and more abiding faith in you. Remind me of just how wonderful it is to trust you. May this hymn remain in my mind and heart as I live my life for you each day:

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at his word;
Just to rest upon his promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust his cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

I’m so glad I learned to trust him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, friend;
And I know that he is with me,
Will be with me to the end.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

Amen!

 

“Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa M.R. Stead, public domain.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Jesus the Builder (Mark 6:1-6)

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