A Message from Pastor Dale.
There are two times that I have found in the Scriptures where it says that Jesus marveled at something. I think it is very interesting that both times it concerned faith. Once He marveled at what He called “great faith,” the other time He marveled because of the lack of faith. For anything to be so outstanding that it caused Jesus to marvel is in itself amazing to me.
First let’s look at Matthew 8:5-10.
“Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am unworthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I am also a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.’”
This centurion is an officer in the Roman military forces occupying Israel. He is not familiar with the words of the prophets or the law of Moses. He is not part of the covenant people of God. But he has heard the words that Jesus has been teaching and has seen the signs and wonders that He has done. He recognized a principle in operation that he himself lived by. He recognized authority because he himself had authority. His men obeyed his commands without question or hesitation not only because he was in authority over them, but that all of the authority of the Roman government was behind his words. Jesus had declared that He did what He saw the Father do and said what He heard the Father say. This man recognized that Jesus spoke with the authority of God behind everything He said. Every word carried the weight of heaven. So he said to Jesus, “Just give me your word. Your word carries with it the authority to accomplish what You send it to do.” Jesus believed the word of God to the degree that circumstances around Him had to come into alignment with that word. In verse 13 it says; “Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.”
In Mark 6:1-6 we read this.
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives and in his own house.’ Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”
These people are not willing to accept the authority of His word. They are not willing to accept the fact that He has authority other than what they recognize. That is, the authority of a local village carpenter. The authority of a local son and brother. They were even offended that someone would dare to speak for and act for God without their permission or appointed authorization. Their eyes were so fixed upon the natural that they could not see the supernatural. They had become comfortable with what was familiar. They could not accept that this Man was sent from God. They were limiting the power of the word of God to the extent of their experience rather than making their experience come into alignment with the word of God. Has our experience made us to be familiar with the lack of power we encounter in the church and God’s people around us? Have we become so comfortable with the natural circumstances we live in that we allow ourselves to be offended when someone presumes to utilize the supernatural power of God to change those circumstances? They said, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him that such mighty works are performed by His hands?”
Who will we accept as God’s representative? Do we shape our understanding of the word of God according to our acceptable doctrine or do we shape our doctrine according to the word of God? Do we want Jesus to marvel at our ‘great faith’ or at our lack of it?