In the Bible there are only two occurrences that were recorded during Jesus ministry where He states that He was, "Amazed;" Mark 6:6 and in Luke 7:9. Both contrast one another. One was for those who were lacking in faith and the other time was for a man's great faith. I can only hope that one day I too can achieve such great faith that it amazes Jesus.
Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Many times, if I don't have faith in what I see, how much harder can it be for me to have faith in what I do not see. And yet…. Jesus waits for me and for you, ever so patiently. Have faith, my child. Have faith. Let's look at the two kinds of faith that amazed Jesus.
Lack of Faith
In Mark 6 we read that Jesus was going into His hometown with His disciples. When the Sabbath came, Jesus began teaching and although many were in awe of what He was doing, talk of doubt and disbelief began to show up in different circles. Can you imagine the scene? "Hey, isn't that Mary and Joseph's boy?", "Isn't that so and so's brother?", "Aw, we know who that is, we lived near him!" Does that sound familiar? I know for me it does. I've had looks before from people I knew or knew of me growing up. "Isn't that the one who was wild growing up?" "Wasn't she a stripper back in the day?" "That's just my niece, I know who she is!"
Jesus’ own family in Mark 3:21 traveled 30 miles from Capernaum to Nazareth and we read in verse 21, "When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for the said, "He is out of his mind!" See, doesn't that just gives you Jesus bumps! Even Jesus’ own family thought he was crazy. Ha! They traveled 30 miles and back then they didn't have Uber. I googled how long the walk would have been and it would approximately have taken them 10 hours to walk. Wow! They were serious in trying to tell him how crazy he was. Think about that for a minute. Some people may travel miles to tell you how they feel about you that is not aligned with what Jesus feels about you. In Mark 3:31-35, Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were outside of where he was teaching looking for him. And Jesus responds in vs. 34-35, "Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and brothers! 35 Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." What Jesus was saying here is that his family was those who hear God’s word and puts them to practice (keyword = practice). Jesus wasn't at all trying to disrespect them, rather he was making a statement and empathizing the point that one's spiritual relationship was superior to one's natural earthly relationship. He loved them all but his purpose was to do the will of His Father.
Philippians 4:9 says, "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me. Or seen in me—put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
In Mark 6:4-6 Jesus told his disciples that only in his hometown, among his relatives and even in his own home, was He a prophet without honor. And because of this, he was only able to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. The sad part in those verses is that it said Jesus couldn't perform any miracles there. Healings came but not the miracles. Meditate on that a bit, take your time to process that. There were healings. BUT not miracles. Mark 6:6, "And He [Jesus] was amazed at their lack of faith." It wasn't that Jesus did not want to, but that He chose not to- due to their lack of faith/unbelief.
Jesus wants us to know his heart. He left us the Living Word of God, so that we wouldn't be weary, or blind but rather see that Faith activates miracles, while the lack of faith deactivates it.
Miracle Causing Faith
So, now that we saw what lack of faith looks like, we now can move onto the kind of faith that causes miracles.
Luke 7:1-10, tells the story of a Centurion slave master who was concerned for his servant who was ill and about to die. He was so concerned that he sent some Jewish leaders to speak to Jesus, asking him to heal his servant. They begged Jesus, asking him to heal that man's servant. They told Jesus that this Centurion was responsible for building their synagogue and that he was a man who loved their nation. This man must've been a stand-up kind of guy, one who was wealthy. In order for him to be able to get some Jewish leaders to speak to Jesus on his behalf, he had to have a lot of respect in his community. Because of them, Jesus decided to go. Not far from the house the Centurion sent another word through his friends to tell Jesus that he wasn't worthy to have Jesus come to his house or for him to go to Jesus and be in his presence. BUT, he said that all Jesus had to do was say the word and his slave would be healed. He said that he understood authority; and that he himself was under authority and that he had led soldiers who were under his authority. Let's read in Luke 7:8, "For I myself [ the Centurion] 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."
It is this great reminder that in God's army when Jesus gives us a command (i.e Be well. Be healed. Go forth. Follow me. You are forgiven. You are set free.) that we should not doubt, but rather have faith and just be. Just receive it. And if we lack wisdom on how to do it we should ask him. (James 1:5).
The Centurion man knew that all Jesus had to do was say the word and his servant would be healed. All he needed was to hear the word from Jesus. The beauty about that also was that he didn't even have to be in the physical presence of the Lord or a word from a prophet this was normal everyday friends. And because of his faith, we read in Luke 7:9, "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."
When the friends turned back home to the Centurion's house, the servant was healed.
Three things we can learn from the Centurion:
1) Great faith activates miracles.
2) Humble confidence produces the result of a Character that pleases the Lord.
3) When God commands us- we need to think like a soldier and just do it, accept it, believe it.
May we all remember the that Centurion man had a faith that made Jesus amazed. And may we also be like the woman who knew that one touch of Jesus would heal her. It isn't material possessions, or status in society..etc., its Faith. I leave you with one more verse, the very verse that Jesus spoke to the woman who had an issue for 12 years that could not be cured until she reached out towards Jesus in faith. Luke 8:48, "Then He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in Peace."
May the Lord's words comfort you. Go in Peace.