For those of us that believe in who Jesus is and what He claims about Himself, it is always encouraging to hear about the people that He touches. We hear testimonies and stories about the miraculous change that happens in the lives around us and we give God the glory for that renewal. The Gospels are full of these kind of transformative changes, and they can be both awe inspiring and reassuring.
It seems though, sometimes, that we only believe this for others (or only in retellings and accounts of times past, not for today). In the first part of the sixth chapter of the book of Mark, we find Jesus returning to Nazareth after being out ministering to the community. He comes home to a community that acknowledges his works, but is still steeped in disbelief.
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“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? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands ona few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Mark 6:1-6 NIV
The amazing part for me isn't that Jesus wasn't able to work, it is that the people acknowledged His gifts and abilities as God, and in the next breath used their preconceived notions about His station as a person to limit him. This Scripture pertains to not only to the people on Nazareth, but to us as well.
When we fail to recognize Jesus' ability to work, not only in the lives of others, but in our own, we are exhibiting the same stubbornness that He witnessed in Nazareth. He laid hands on a few, healed some others, and left. Half-measures of faith will result in half-measures of miracles.
Jesus will be present in ours lives, that much we know. By placing our faith in Christ, we open ourselves up to participate in a new type of relationship. What do we really want though? How far are we willing to go?
Are we going to be content knowing that our stubborn resistance to the power of Christ kept us from experiencing everything that He has for us? Will we choose to believe that "God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory" (Phillippians 4:19) only applies to others, and not to us?
Or will we embrace all that Christ has to offer us? He is ready and willing to act in ways that we cannot begin to imagine. It is available to us all, if we simply believe it's possible.
Questions: How have you limited Christ's ability to work in your life? What steps are you taking to give Christ more room to work?