Mark 6:6 (ESV) — And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
There are a couple of times in Scripture that people caused Jesus to marvel. Both times it is about faith. In one example, Jesus marvels at the faith of a Roman centurion (Matthew 8). The guy hears Jesus is in town and he goes to him to plead for Jesus to heal his sick servant. When Jesus tells the centurion to take him to the servant, the centurion says it is unnecessary. He states that Jesus only needs to say the word and the servant will be healed. He understood Jesus’ authority and power. This blew Jesus away. He marveled at the Gentile soldier’s faith. He remarked that he hadn’t seen such faith like that in all of Israel.
That’s one example of Jesus marveling. But we see another example in our text today. It is a negative example. In Mark 6:6, after seeing the works Jesus performed, and hearing the authority he taught with, the people of Nazareth questioned Jesus’ legitimacy by commenting on his origins and family ties. Mark summarizes his response by saying, “And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.”
Why did Jesus marvel? Because of their unbelief. Their lack of faith blew him away. He couldn’t believe they had seen the signs he performed and heard the authority with which he taught, and yet found reasons to doubt. This hard-heartedness reveals unbelief. Jesus’ response to this unbelief was to leave and go to other places.
It is important to realize that Jesus can choose to heal, bless, and pour out his favor and presence even when we display a lack of faith. However, oftentimes in Scripture, he chose to walk away and go elsewhere. It is not that unbelief ties his hands or constrains his power – nothing can do that. But when he finds unbelief and unwillingness to trust him, he moves on. The challenge for us today should be to examine what Christ will find in our own hearts. Will he find unbelief or belief? Will he marvel at our hardness of heart, or marvel at our faith?
Reflection & Journal:
- What does it mean to marvel?
- Why does their lack of faith seem to move Jesus?
- How can we grow in our faith and trust so that we can experience all the fullness of Christ’s favor?
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