Have you ever thought about what Jesus finds amazing? We often talk about being amazed by God. The amazing ways He provides. The amazing miracles He does. His "Amazing Grace"; How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. And while He certainly is amazing, should we truly be amazed at what He does? Isn't that who He says He is? He is love. He is mercy. He is all-powerful. Should we really be amazed when He provides, heals, forgives, and does the "impossible". Is there such a thing as impossible when God is involved?
A few years ago I witnessed several "miracles" take place one after the other. Some were in regards to physical or emotional healing, some were related to relationships, some were great displays of God's provision, and some were ministry-related. At first I was very much amazed by what I saw taking place, but after awhile I began to take a less awe-struck point of view. I think God was trying to prove a point at a time in my life when I really needed to believe in His presence and love, and it worked. There was no way for me to deny His faithfulness because so much was going on that I couldn't explain any other way. And yet in spite of all I saw happening, I often still have seasons of doubt in all that He is and all He wants to do for me and those I pray for.
Getting back to my original question about what amazes Jesus, we can find the answers in Mark 6, Mark 14, and Luke 7. In one case His amazement is a positive response to someone's faith, but in the other two, He is shocked by a lack of faith among those He is closest to. In Mark 6, we find Him returning to His hometown after taking His message of Good News all over the region. While His message was well received from place to place, it was not so welcome back home. People doubted His credibility, and therefore their faith was lacking. Those who did believe were healed, those who didn't were not. And the believing ones were very few.
I can imagine Him being heartbroken over this. And I'm sure He was, but even more so He "marvelled at their unbelief." (KJV) This word for 'marvelled' is translated as 'amazed' in other versions, but not in a positive sense. He was shocked, saddened, and left powerless. Did you know that we have the ability to render the Almighty God powerless with our unbelief? Sobering thought, isn't it?
A similar word is used in Mark 14 where we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is with His disciples on the night before His death, and "he began to be deeply distressed and troubled." In the KJV, the words "sorely amazed" are used, meaning "to astonish utterly". Some words for this we use more commonly today are: flabbergasted, overwhelmed, shocked, and taken aback. And not just somewhat, but absolutely and completely. In short, Jesus is floored. By what? That His time was drawing near? No, He was expecting that. What surprises Him is how quickly the faith of His friends is failing. They were losing confidence in Him. They were losing hope fast. And He says to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." Just as when He had gone home only to find a profound amount of unbelief among His family and friends, He is heartbroken once again. Those He had invested so much time in were ready to bolt, and He knew it. I don't think He was fearing so much what was coming, but what already was. He wanted them to see the glory of what He was about to do, but He knew they were going to completely miss it and feel devastated, abandoned, and fear for their own lives.
In sharp contrast to these two accounts of the faithless, we find a story in Luke 7 about a Roman centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant who is near death. This particular centurion has great faith in Jesus' ability to heal him, even from a distance. He doesn't want to take up Jesus' precious time, and Jesus is amazed by his faith. "I tell you," he says to the crowd, "I have yet to come across this kind of simple trust anywhere in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know about God and how He works. " (The Message)
I think that pretty much sums it up. Jesus was amazed that this man, a foreigner in Israel, had more faith than many of His own people who were supposed to "Commend Your works to another generation and tell of Your mighty acts. Speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty and meditate on Your wonderful works. Tell of the power of Your awesome works, and proclaim Your great deeds. Celebrate Your abundant goodness, and joyfully sing of Your righteousness." They were supposed to know that "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love...is good to all and has compassion on all He has made...gives them food at the proper time and opens His hand to satisfy the desires of every living thing...is near to all who call on Him...fulfills the desire of those who fear Him...hears their cry and saves them...and watches over all who love Him." (Psalm 145: 4-20)
I fear that I am often far too amazed when I witness the glory of God, as if I am surprised, shocked, and flabbergasted that He actually cares enough to protect me, provide for the needs of my family, bring healing to those who need it, and delight me in unexpected ways. Instead of saying, "Wow, that's amazing! I can't believe He did that!" My response to His wonder and majesty should be, "Oh yeah. That's My God!"