When you read through the gospels, you learn that people were amazed by Jesus. When he taught with authority (Matthew 7:28), calmed the stormy wind and waves (Matthew 8:27), or healed the sick (Matthew 9:33), people were amazed.
But as you read the gospels you also learn that, at times, Jesus was amazed by people. Some people simply amazed him.
Do you think you could ever amaze Jesus?
Most of us would find that thought rather far-fetched. Afterall, we know we’re not amazing! Our family and friends love us, but they aren’t really amazed by us. So we feel quite sure we could never be amazing in Jesus’ estimation.
But we are wrong about that. I say that because the people who amazed Jesus were a lot like most of us.
There are two passages, one in Mark and one in Luke, that showcase people who amazed Jesus.
In the first instance, Jesus is amazed by the folks from his hometown of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6).
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,[a] 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.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was
amazed at their lack of faith.
In the second passage from Luke 7, Jesus is amazed by a centurion in Capernaum.
When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this, he was
amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
In both cases, what amazed Jesus had to do with faith. In Mark 6 it was the lack of faith among His Nazareth neighbours. In Luke 7, it was the presence of faith in the Capernaum centurion.
Consider the contrast between the two cases where Jesus was amazed:
Here’s the lesson I draw from these two case studies: Jesus is amazed by stubborn unbelief and surprising faith. He’s amazed by those who have good reason to believe in Him but don’t. And He’s amazed by those who have little reason to believe in Him but do!
Which way do you amaze Jesus?
It’s uncomfortable to admit, but many of us have things in common with the Nazareth neighbours. We’ve grown up familiar with Jesus. In my case, Jesus has been a big part of my world since I was a child. What’s more, like the folks in Nazareth, we’ve seen His mighty works. We can tell of times Jesus has worked in our lives in memorable ways. He’s rescued us from sin and sickness. He’s come through over and over again. We’ve had first-hand experience with His mighty power.
So if we choose NOT to trust Him when we face new challenges, we have no reason to do so. Like the folks in Nazareth, we are guilty of stubborn unbelief. We amaze Jesus–but in the wrong way.
On the other hand, if we follow the lead of the centurion and trust in His authority and power to meet our pressing needs, we could amaze Jesus in the right way.
Jesus is amazed by stubborn unbelief and surprising faith.
Which way are you amazing Him?