Word By Mail

Amazed at Unbelief

Watch or Listen to Video 

Mark 6:1-6

This 3-minute video and devotion come from a message of the same title. There’s a link to the full message at the end of this devotion.

FLABBERGASTED

Only two times does the Bible say Jesus was amazed. Once, he was amazed by a high level of belief (Matthew Ch 8) and once, he was amazed by a high level of unbelief (here). What does it take to leave Jesus amazed at our unbelief?

In Mark 6:1-6, we see Jesus amazed by the level of the unbelief of people in his own home town.

In verse 1 we see Jesus leave Capernaum and return to his hometown of Nazareth. In the next verse, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue.

Mark 6:2 (NLT) 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”

Many who heard Jesus – were AMAZED.
 
But this is a different Greek word than we’re going to see later when it’s used for Jesus being amazed at the unbelief of the people here. This Greek word is most often translated “astonished.” One translation says, “they were completely flabbergasted” when they heard the words of Jesus and when they heard of all his miracles. The townspeople who all knew Jesus growing up, were astonished – they were flabbergasted!

They had acknowledged and were astonished by the wisdom of his words and the power of his miracles. They had the facts, and they had the proof about Jesus. However, they had a predisposed opinion that drove their response to the Good News about Jesus.

OFFENDED

Mark 6:3 (NLT) 3 Then they scoffed, (they had the facts – they had the proof - and they scoffed) “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. 

The Greek word for “deeply offended” is a heavy word. It means “to be filled with disgust or revulsion for someone.” The people who were closest to Jesus while he was growing up – sinless – were now filled with disgust and revulsion toward him.

DETERMINED UNBELIEF

Mark 6:5 (NLT) 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. (This does not mean that Jesus didn’t have the power. It means that he didn’t have the purpose.)

This is a clear display of the raw power of unbelief. Truly believing in Jesus Christ is an extremely powerful thing. But, the raw power of determined unbelief can be equally as powerful.

I think the biggest lesson here, and by far the scariest lesson is the sheer, direction-setting power of determined unbelief. The people of Nazareth had heard the supernatural wisdom of the words of Jesus. They had seen (or heard of) the supernatural power of his miracles and they simply and completely denied the facts and denied the proof of all they had heard and seen.

UNDENIABLE PROOF

Have you experienced this – maybe with family or friends or someone you care deeply about? The evidence is there, the facts and the proof are undeniable. But it seems like the person had made a pre-determined commitment not to believe anything you say before you have even spoken one word. Here is the truly scary part; this determined unbelief actually impacts what God is able to do in that person’s life.

It reminds me of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. The rich man and Lazarus both die. Lazarus goes into the presence of God (Abraham’s Bosom). The rich man is separated from God by his unbelief, and the rich man asks “Father Abraham” to send Lazarus back from the dead so that his brothers will believe and not end up in the same place as him. In Luke 16:31, Abraham says to the rich man, “If they won’t listen to [God’s testimony], they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”

Please don’t be so hardened in your unbelief that even if someone were to rise from the dead, you still wouldn’t believe.

AMAZED

Here then, is the real story – the most important point.

Mark 6:6(a) (NLT) 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief . . . 

Jesus was amazed at their unbelief. This Greek word for “amazed” means to "wonder or marvel at a thing." Jesus “marveled” at their unbelief. He was amazed at their commitment to not believe. Determined unbelief is really powerful. It is amazing how unbelief can respond in the face of facts and proof. It is so amazing that it startles Jesus here.

The people of Nazareth acknowledged the wisdom of his words. They were aware of the proof of his miracle. Yet, they were so committed to not believing that it left Jesus amazed.

OPEN HEART

The Bible says eternal life and eternal death hang in the balance of your belief or unbelief.

The Bible is the most supernatural, miraculous, divinely inspired writing that has ever existed. With 2,000 years of proof in every possible area of science and history, and yet people so easily say, “Well, here’s what I think.” And they take their own opinion, fashioned from their own experience and they put it above the most supernatural, miraculous, divinely inspired writing in existence on earth. Please do not do that.

Unbelief is a very powerful thing, and the more you are determined in it, the less you will be able to see and respond to the truth, no matter how it is presented or proven to you.

What you don’t want, is what the last half of verse 6 says.

Mark 6:6(b) (NLT) 6 . . . Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. 

The Bible is clear – at some point, Jesus will allow you to become too hardened in your unbelief that you will no longer be able to hear from him or respond to him. Please do not let that happen in your life.

Keep your heart and your mind open to who the Bible says Jesus Christ is and the gift of eternal life that he came to give all who would believe in him.