Shock! Is Jesus ever shocked by us?
My initial response is that Jesus is God so He could not possibly be shocked by anyone or anything. But honestly, as I have read the Mark 6 passage a number of times today in various translations, I just don’t know.
Let’s read the full passage to create some context before continuing any further.
Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. 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?” Then 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.
Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 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. And he was amazed at their unbelief.Mark 6:1-6 NLT
I think I have to conclude that Jesus was shocked – or maybe that’s not the right word, but certainly amazed by the response of His hometown crowd. Clearly, this scene tells us that Jesus visited His family and friends at some point after His earthly ministry had begun. And when they encountered Him as a Rabbi who did miracles, the people who had simply known Jesus as the son of Joseph and Mary were offended.
Jesus felt their rejection. He saw their scowls and heard their questioning voices. Jesus recognized their offense and stubborn refusal to acknowledge Him as the One who came from God. The people who had known Him for the longest period of time. The people with whom He had grown up and were most familiar with His character. Most of these people were unwilling to accept Jesus. Because they were unwilling to accept Him and believe His words, Jesus was unable to help them with their afflictions.
I will confess that this look into the real life of the God-man, Jesus, has been more than a bit uncomfortable for me.
What is it specifically that bothers me about this passage of scripture?
Then it hit me, and I whispered my fearful question to Jesus, “Are you ever shocked at my unbelief?”
I think He was nodding in the affirmative and said, “Sometimes, but I’m glad you asked.”
It was a good question. It’s a fair question. At least I’ve learned to recognize when I’m bothered. And I’ve learned to stop, put my eyes on Jesus and ask Him for wisdom. I’m glad I got to the real issue at hand.
I have known Jesus as long as His family and probably most of His hometown friends by the time He had begun His 3-year ministry. I’ve followed Him for a long time, and I’ve witnessed many true miracles. He’s been with me and never left me, good times and bad. Sadly though, I have at times stubbornly rejected His help, and at other times I have been quite offended by Him.
Maybe. Just maybe. What is most shocking is that Jesus was not able to help them because of their unbelief. The most familiar people in Jesus’ life missed out on the best of His goodness because they were offended by Him.
Now, I’m repentant. I don’t want to lose out on the abundant life Jesus offers me daily because I have chosen stubbornness and offense. I see it. I recognize my tendency. I confess it here and turn away from my sin.
Oh Jesus, today I am grateful for Your love and forgiveness. I am sorry for all the times I have stubbornly refused to believe, and I’m sorry for the times I’ve been angry and offended by You. I give thanks to You, Lord, because of Your goodness and steadfast love. I want to trust You in all things, and in all seasons. Help me to keep my eyes on You.
What about you? Has Jesus ever been shocked at your unbelief?
It might be a question worth pondering.
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,