He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. Mark 6:1-6 ESV
I read over this passage the other day and was marveling at the fact that Jesus marveled. In other versions words like amazed and astonished are used. There is another account in Matthew 5:8 where Jesus marvels at the extent of the centurion’s faith.
Isn’t it interesting to think that Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah marveled. And at what did he marvel?
First off, I think it is so important to understand what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah in the hearts of those in His day. The Messiah, in simple terms, was the One that would come, restore all things and sit as King over restored creation forever. It wasn’t a small thing and that is why He hacked so many off when He would allude to the fact that He was THAT GUY!
With that said, I have no doubt that throughout the New Testament “faith” is not just believing that I can be healed. Faith was far bigger than that in the Jewish mind. Faith was anchored in the Messianic expectation. Do I really believe that this guy is the One who will come and restore all things? Is this really the guy who will sit on the throne in the New Jerusalem and govern perfectly forever? Is this really God’s Son? Is this the Guy that will judge the heart of every man?
The reason healing is the context around which we see faith mentioned a lot is because signs and wonders were a clear indicator and sign of the Messiah and His Kingdom that would come to the earth at the Day of the Lord and gave hope of the coming restoration. The body being healed pointed to the resurrection of the body at the coming of the Messiah. A sample of what is to come and to remind those receiving or seeing the healing that He is going to come and restore the body fully. It wasn’t belief in the healing as much as faith in the One who the healing pointed to. Healings, casting out demons, signs, wonders all are STILL meant to point to the coming Day of the Lord, when the Messiah will return and restore His creation.
So, when Jesus marvels at these two accounts in the gospels, the reality of His Messiahship gives great depth to what is being said. Those in Jesus’ home town knew Him in His obscurity and “hidden” years. Their questions in Mark 6 have unspoken answers that point to Him as Messiah, yet they discount faith in Him as the Messiah by pointing to His family and siblings. In that, they are offended, leaving them faithless.
Their is much discussion around faith here in the West. Many thoughts are given to faith (like mine), but each believer must really grapple with the Jewish understanding of faith and what it meant to a Jew because it would mean the same thing for us as Gentiles as well. His Messiahship can change a lot in Scripture if it is understood rightly.
Truly, we are saved through faith. The Spirit was given that we might access His grace in prayer (through healing, prophecy, long suffering, etc), reminding us of the still coming Day of the Messiah (stirring faith) and being strengthened to walk worthy unto that end (persevering).
Forgetfulness is demonstrated throughout the Old Testament in the nation of Israel. We now have no excuse to forget with the Spirit dwelling in us. The Spirit makes relationship with God available to us. Nonetheless, we do forget at times. Thank you Lord for your mercy and may You and Your Day be a real reality that shapes every day of our lives.
May the Spirit lead us each day and may we continue to have a reality anchored in the Messiah and His Day, picking up our cross as He did that we might live (in the resurrection) when He returns.