Two Times That Jesus Was Amazed…

faith of centurion (8-17-15)

As we continue to walk with Jesus through the Gospel of Luke, the Bible passages below have been a huge blessing for me this past week: throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the most characterized reaction of the people to Jesus—His words, His message, His actions, His responses, etc.—is amazement. 32x the people are described as being amazed by Jesus.

And yet those same books of the Bible record two distinct times when Jesus Himself was amazed. Pretty cool, huh? What has to happen for JESUS to be amazed? Let’s open up God’s Word and find out!!!

(Scripture in bold, my thoughts regular type)

  1. Luke 7:1-10 (NIV)

The Faith of the Centurion

 7 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum.

[Are we really listening to Jesus right now? Do we EXPECT Him to say something to us in a sermon, on a drive to the store, while we are brushing our teeth, during lunch at work or school? We should! 🙂 In your own minds, play out this scenario—how would you answer someone who asks you, “How do you listen to Jesus throughout each day?” That is a powerfully simple AND profound question. Most of us, without realizing it, spend our days thinking about what we NEED to do, what we WANT to do, and what we SHOULD do (as well as what we DON’T need to do, what we DON’T want to do, what we think we SHOULDN’T have to do). Of course there is a time & place for those thoughts, but the problem with them is WE—SELF!—are the subject of all of those sentences. So without realizing it we spend our earthly lives as the subject of our own thoughts, and thus our own lives, and we haven’t learned how to listen to Jesus, we haven’t learned how to make HIM the subject of our thoughts, and thus our lives.

This very first verse states that Jesus spoke—had a message!—for those people who were LISTENING to Him. Friends, ask Jesus to help you listen to Him each moment, especially through prayer, silence, and reading the Bible—He WILL speak to you!]

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.

[Verse 3: The centurion, through his friends, went to Jesus for help. Wise move! When is the last time you went to Jesus, really went to be with Him and ask of Him something…for longer than ten seconds, for longer than a moment? One of the nastiest lies we can believe is that “God has bigger issues to deal with running the universe; my circumstances don’t matter to Him.” Loved ones, if we REALLY believed that God is always with us, that He attentively listens to us, we would be praying hours a day and would constantly be getting in trouble for being distracted at work, school, at home, AT CHURCH!, etc. Loved ones, when is the last time you truly WENT TO JESUS to ask for and receive…HIM?]

[Verse 4: When is the last time we truly pleaded with Jesus on behalf of someone else, when we labored in prayer for more than 20 seconds on behalf of a loved one undergoing a difficult trial? We DEFINITELY should serve people with our hands when we have the power to do so! We should also DEFINITELY serve people with our knees—praying for them at the feet of Jesus! One of the reasons why we are often refreshed after we do this is because it is one of the few times throughout a day when we aren’t thinking about ourselves; thus praying for others is like spiritually coming up for deep breaths of oxygen after holding our breath underwater all day—it can, like a marathon runner’s “high”, feel GREAT!]

[Verse 6: “So Jesus went with them.” Loved ones, do we believe that Jesus “goes with us” each moment of the day? A question for you to ponder: On a Tuesday morning, Friday evening, or Saturday afternoon, how do you treat Jesus as if He really is with you? You believe He is with you—awesome! But how do you SHOW HIM that you believe He is with you? Aahhh, now our friendship with Jesus leaves the intellectual and moves into the practical, and He wants it to thrive in BOTH places!]

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.”

[Look at the profound faith and realizations of this pagan Roman commander:

  1. He realizes that Jesus is so powerful that the normal rules of healing—being in the presence of the person, diagnosing the ailment, seeing the symptoms, determining the medicine/dose, administering it, etc.—don’t apply to Jesus. Jesus is so powerful that He can heal a person from miles away!
  1. The commander realizes that he does not deserve to have Jesus even MEET with him, let alone heal his servant. This humility is powerful and important and often neglected now-a-days—we want to be promoted, elevated, recognized, pumped up, complimented, encouraged, etc., and God wants to do that for us in different ways! But He also wants to bring us low, to help us see our own personal DIRE and UTTER need for Him on a daily basis, not just at one moment in our lives, to see ourselves as He sees us, and to see our sin as He sees it (we talked more in depth on this topic in the sermon from July 26th).
  1. The commander realizes the power of Jesus’ Word—God created the universe with His Word, Jesus is literally the Word of God, we are saved when we “confess with our mouths [WORDS!] that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God the Father raised Him from the dead” (Romans 10:9), we are to build our lives on Jesus’ Words (the Bible!), if Jesus says it, we can trust it! His Word conquers and overrules our opinions, experiences, preferences, fears, culture, etc.
  1. Though I’ve been taught that “the sauce is boss,” the commander realizes that Jesus is the Boss, that everything is under the authority of Jesus, that Jesus is in control of everything. EVERYTHING.]

Now THAT is some amazing faith…

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.

So, this is one of the things that amazes Jesus—simple faith in Him, like a little child would have. Faith that trusts that He is with us, that He is all-powerful, that we don’t deserve Him, that His Word is the foundation of life, and that He is the Boss over EVERYTHING.

Do you want to have faith in Jesus like THAT? He will help you…if you ask Him!

Luke 17:5 NIV: The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

Let’s now look at the second time that the Bible records Jesus being amazed…

  1. Mark 6:1-7 (NIV)

A Prophet Without Honor

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.

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.

Now Jesus was amazed here, but not in a good way! The people in Jesus’ hometown had the opposite faith of the Roman commander:

-they couldn’t see the forest because they were staring at the trees! In other words, they couldn’t believe that this Jesus, Whom they saw grow up (and be conceived in His mother Mary through controversial circumstances), was the Messiah, was (and is!) God in the flesh. They could only see Him as a regular man, just as so many today only see Jesus as a teacher, guru, mystic, myth, etc. In what ways do you see Jesus only through your physical eyes and not through the eyes of faith? In what ways are you putting Jesus in a box and, by lack of faith, restricting some of what He wants to do in you and through you?

2 Corinthians 5:16 NIV:
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.”

-they didn’t believe because they didn’t WANT to believe even though they SAW Him with their own eyes—they were jealous of His wisdom, jealous of His power, offended by the way they felt in His presence, that they should need HIM, that even though He loved them perfectly, there was a sense of people understanding deep down that they were in the presence of God Himself, superior to them.

Lately, the Holy Spirit has helped me realize that while I do want God to do great things through me, I often want Him to not so that I will fall more in love with Him, but so that I will fall more in love with myself. Oh wretched heart of mine! And yet I can bring that diseased heart to Jesus in repentance for forgiveness, healing, comfort, and transformation at His hands, at His Word!

THIS is what I think those in Jesus’ hometown were going through–they saw Jesus’ wisdom and His miracles and they wanted God to do those things through THEM, and so they took offense at Jesus instead of marveling at God the Father!

-It is humbling and haunting to think that our lack of faith can, in some ways, STOP Jesus from doing certain miracles in our lives. Now PLEASE do not jump to the conclusion that a family member is sick or has died BECAUSE you have a weak faith. Only God can make that judgment and reveal it to us. But it is still worth noting that at least SOME of Jesus’ miracles are tied to our faith in Him—we have a role to play!

Since we now know that Jesus is amazed by our FAITH in Him, whether a strong faith or a non-existent faith, my next post will be a continuation of these theme–we will look at Hebrews chapter 11 to get a Biblical snap-shot of what faith looks like when it is lived out, a faith “selfie” from the Bible, in Hebrews chapter 11, the “hall of fame of faith.”