Amazed, Pt. 2

Re:Verse reading– Mark 6:1-13 (day seven)

Jesus marveled because of their unbelief. Mark 6:6

People were amazed by the formerly demon possessed man’s story, the people of Capernaum were amazed by Jesus’ teaching, now it is Jesus’ turn to be amazed, but not by their great faith, but by their unbelief. It begs the question, why was he so amazed by their unbelief? It could be that he was amazed by their hardness of heart.

There is nothing truer, more real, than God. This is why blaspheme is such a big deal, it ascribes evil to that which is clearly of God (the Holy Spirit). It is akin to denying that the source of warmth on your skin belongs to the heat radiating from the Sun, and then denying that the Sun even exists. Jesus’ teaching, healing, and even his very person were literal statements of an obvious divine reality. His hometown would not have it; they denied the Son.

The greatest way we acknowledge the reality of the Son is to enjoy his presence and to do what he asks of us. How can you embrace the truth of Jesus today?

Max Q

Re:Verse reading– Mark 6:1-13 (day five)

Ever heard of “Max Q”. It’s a term  from NASA describing the maximum amount of aerodynamic pressure required for atmospheric flight (stress while entering the atmosphere). All shuttles and ships are designed to perform and function effectively while in Max Q.

What about the disciples? They were experiencing social, theological, and political Max Q. Their assignment was specific and realistic (there would be hostility and opposition).  Wonder if they felt the stress and pressure? Wonder if they felt prepared or optimistic?  Wonder if they wanted to postpone or delay?  Wonder if they would rather “play it safe”?
The words of Donald English are challenging and appropriate, “We go for safety in the faith, while trying to follow a Lord who risked Himself in incarnation and all that followed it… Our plea that we need more training is met by the simple observation that the disciples needed more training- much more training; yet they were sent out, and were effective.”

Ready to live effectively in 2017 with Max Q?


Re:Verse reading– Mark 6:1-13 (day four)

Jesus and His disciples went to Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown.  They had been all over teaching, healing, and doing wonderful miracles.  As the people of Nazareth heard Jesus preach, they were amazed.  They were also jealous and unbelieving.  “Wasn’t this the carpenter’s son whose family lives right here among us?  Who does He think He is, anyway?”  As a result of their unbelief, scripture says that Jesus was unable to perform any miracles.  He could only heal a few sick people.

It is not as if Jesus was not powerful enough to do the miracles or did not have enough authority to accomplish them.  Apparently, God has chosen to work through the faith of men in order to do mighty things.  In the absence of any faith, Jesus could do little.

What if that is true today?  What if God chooses to limit His work in a city, or state, or nation or home, because of the unbelief of the people?  Could God’s church be the cause of a lack of power being demonstrated in a city?  Will we trust in the Lord and release the power of God among the people?


Re:Verse reading– Mark 6:1-13 (day three) 

“Isn’t this the carpenter?”  One generally does not welcome surprises.  Beyond the very few instances of well-meaning diversions—a gift kept secret until the unwrapping, a longed-for family member who shows up for the holidays after all—surprises interfere with one’s ability to meet the demands of the day while time still remains to meet them.  If you learn that something you thought you knew you actually do not know, that’s a surprise.  If the matter turns out to be one on which your well being will always depend, surprise turns to fear and confusion.  Fear and confusion will take the place of listening and thinking.  That’s the way we often approach new ideas.  But Jesus came in the flesh, not as a disembodied idea.  He is a person to whom you can listen.  Hear him.

Give Honor

Re:Verse reading– Mark 6:1-13 (day two) 

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? ” vs. 2b

Going home can be rough. Perhaps you are experiencing that this holiday season. Often when we go back to the place where we grew up, surrounded by the people we knew it can be like we are playing a part that we’ve been playing for decades. Arguments that have never been resolved. Truths that have never been told. This is due, in part, to how others view us. We are forever that 16 year-old kid that kept making poor decisions.

When I was a teacher and I would hear my students talk about politics, world events, or give some commentary on culture I often found it amusing but, just as often, dismissed it as youthful ignorance. As those same students left, went to college, had families and careers their voice began to have a ring of wisdom, but my first reaction was to hear them as a high school student, not a lawyer, teacher, political consultant, or frankly as an adult.

I have been on both sides of this parable. I have gone home and been dismissed, and I have readily dismissed those that I couldn’t imagine as anything other than a child. Where are you on the spectrum? Where was Jesus? How did he react? He continued healing, he sent disciples out with instructions to teach, heal, and move on if need be. Let’s listen better. Let’s give honor where it is due.

Hometown boy

Re:Verse reading–Mark 6:1-13 (day one) 

Nazareth was a small town.  In several ways.  Small in population.  Small in imagination.

The people of this village all knew Jesus.  They had seen him grown up.  Known his father, his family.

Good to a point, except that it made them, as individuals and as a group, resistant to viewing Jesus through different lenses, to thinking of Him with a larger mind.  When He began to do miracles that strongly indicated His identity, they refused to go down that road.  He was a puzzle, but they steadfastly refused to consider that He was more than they already knew Him to be.  The idea offended them.

“Familiarity breeds contempt” is the old proverb.  In the case of Nazareth, it bred unbelief. (see Matthew 13:58 for this insight)

Do WE resist steps forward with Jesus because we think we already know Him?  Are WE willing to consider that He is more than we presently know?

When Christmas comes

Re:Verse reading– Mark 5:1-20 (day seven)

“And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind”–v 15

There are two sides of the Christmas message.  The first is that Jesus is LIGHT.  We celebrated it last night in the Christmas Eve service.  The second is the Jesus is LORD. GOD with us!  He doesn’t just show the way, He makes it possible for us to walk it. He has power over dark forces  we struggle with every day.

In some ways, the demonized man in Mark 5 is a strange story to tell on Christmas morning.  In another way, it is perfect!  Until life is transformed by the power of Christ,  Christmas hasn’t come, no matter what the calendar says.

Christ has come!  We should all rejoice in this truth.  Come to Christ!  We should all obey this truth and find power for holy living.  Then, it will be Christmas!





Re:Verse reading– Mark 5:1-20 (day six)

People were amazed by the man’s story. Everywhere he went he told his story, and people marveled. This isn’t surprising, after all his story IS remarkable; demon possessed man returns to his right mind after being restored by the Son of the Most High God. Now that’s a story!

What is even more amazing is that Jesus commissioned him to go tell people about his encounter with the Most High God, rather than stay with him. What if his family and friends responses were directly tied to the authority in which he was commissioned to tell his story? What if it wasn’t his story at all, but Jesus at work in those who heard it because he was faithful to tell it.

Here’s the thing, we were not called to linger with Jesus, but to follow Jesus. Our commission is no different than the Gerasene man’s; we too must go and tell our Gospel story. God’s plan for His Kingdom was always predicated on our telling others what He has done; we just might be amazed by peoples responses when we do.

Go tell it on on the mountain…and everywhere.

How Much? How Long?

Re:Verse reading– Mark 5:1-20 (day five) 

In an unprecedented move, Jesus tells the demon possessed man to, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” Earlier (Mark 1), Jesus forbids people to tell others. So, why does this man get a different response? Why is he told to go preach when Jesus didn’t yet trust His disciples who had “little or weak” faith (Mark 4:40).

Maybe better questions for us to consider would be: How much do you need to know before God will desire to use you for His Purpose and Glory? Do you need seminary? Evangelism training? (Answer- All you need is your testimony (your life before you encountered and surrendered to Christ, how and when you encountered and surrendered to Christ, and what your life has been like since you have encountered and surrendered to Christ.) How long do you have to wait before God will use you? (Answer- God can use you immediately).

Do you have a testimony? Will you ask God to use you today?

What Can God Do With Me?

Re:Verse reading– Mark 5:1-20 (day four)

“What can God do with me?  I’m just one person!”  Have you ever said this…or at least thought it?  What a great answer to the question is found here in Mark.  The Decapolis, home of the Gerasenes, was a pagan land.  There were no God-followers in this region.  It was what we would call an UPG (Unreached People Group) today.  When they saw Jesus and what He had done, they asked Him to leave immediately.

After Jesus’ encounter with the demoniac, it was natural that the man who was formerly possessed by legions of demons would want to go with Jesus.  In V. 19, Jesus gave him a command…very similar to our Great Commission…to ‘go and tell’.  In Mark 7:31, we see the results of this man’s obedience.  Jesus and His disciples returned to the region of Decapolis.  Multitudes were now seeking Jesus…from one man’s witness.

Back to our original question…”what can God do with me?”  Go to your people and tell and let’s see what God can do!