There are two things that amaze Jesus. At least, there are only two times in Scripture when we’re told that Jesus was amazed. The two things are definitely related. But, you might be surprised by what they are.
1. Great faith
Once, Jesus was approached by a Roman soldier who had an employee that was paralyzed and suffering. The soldier was so certain that Jesus could do something to help that he asked Jesus to speak so his servant could be healed.
“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith’” (Matthew 8:10).
Jesus is amazed by great faith.
2. Lack of faith.
On another occasion, Jesus was preaching in his hometown. The locals questioned him and were offended by him. They couldn’t believe there was anything special about him.
“He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:6).
Jesus is amazed by a lack of faith.
The importance of faith
One of the central themes of Scripture is trusting God. God’s greatest desire, it seems, is for us to trust him. He wants us to have faith.
He’s amazed when we have it.
And, He’s amazed when we don’t.
A little faith can move a mountain (Matthew 17:20).
A lack of faith can stifle the work of God (Mark 6:5).
It seems to me that our role, as God’s people, is to believe. Our role is to believe that God can and will do the incredible. He can and will do the impossible. He can and will act in our lives to heal, restore, and empower.
But, I have to be honest. Most of the time, that hasn’t been my experience. Many people I pray for, never get better. Many of my most desperate prayers haven’t been answered the way I wanted them to.
Most of the time, when I pray, nothing changes.
Many of my experiences have made me more cynical and skeptical. But, if all of my experiences pointed me toward the incredible and the impossible, how much faith would it take to live, to pray, to believe? Probably not much.
Jesus was amazed by the Roman soldier precisely because everyone knows people aren’t healed miraculously…especially from a distance. It was the soldiers’ faith in the midst of impossibly difficult circumstances that amazed Jesus.
Somehow, the soldier had great faith in spite of his experiences.
I want to have that kind of faith. So, I often find myself praying this prayer:
I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! — Mark 9:24
Maybe one day I’ll exercise enough faith that the Lord will be amazed.
What encourages you to have faith? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.