Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stopping Jesus's Miracles

Are you holding Jesus back from performing miracles? The people of his home town did!

See Mark 6:1-6:
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, that he even does miracles! 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, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith, and he could not do any miracles there. The text says "could not," not "would not." We don't have to have a huge, unwavering faith either. The Bible tells us that we simple need a small, honest faith. Jesus says in Matthew 17:20, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Another time (in Mark 9) a man asks Jesus to heal his son, if Jesus can. Mark 9:23 continues, " "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" " Jesus healed that boy.

Today let's look to Jesus and say, "I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!" Look for any areas in your life that need renewed faith, and open the door to His miracles.

But remember this final note: Sometimes God does say no to our prayers in His wisdom. A prayer answered no, does not denote a lack of faith. We cannot cause miracles, only prevent them.



Sonya Lee Thompson said...

This scripture has always amazed me. We should all remember that in our hometown with our families, we will also be least effective.

I'm praying for faith in my life, and believing for it. I'm glad God is on our side!

Sue J. said...

This Mark passage is definitely tripping me up. In the NIV, NASB, and even in the KJV it is, indeed, 'could not'. But, if you read the same storyline in Matthew (13:58), it's 'did not do'. For me, the Matthew verbiage makes more sense when considering the character of Jesus. He is God; He should have the power to produce miracles when He wishes.

There is a definitely a correlation between those folks (and us) seeing miracles and faithfulness. God's looking at our hearts all the time and knows if we are in a position to receive a miracle. That story in Mark 9 is one of my favorites, not just because of the healing but because Jesus taught so gently that the father needed to look in his heart, and admit to his unbelief. That is so where I stand!

We have to remember that God's will is always bigger than our own. But, if we believe, increasingly He will share of Himself through the Spirit.

Edie said...

After reading Sue J's comment about Matthew 13:58 it sounds like it's time for a word study.

I have been praying "help my unbelief" a lot lately.

I think this passage you referenced in Mark 6:1-6 also shows us the importance of praying for godly friends to come into the lives of our loved ones. The outside influence seems to have a greater impact.

Edie said...

...sometimes. :)

Nezzy said...

Exactly! We pray for miracles but would be shocked to see it come to be. When when we pray we should believe and anticipate it to happen because with God anything is possible!!!

God bless and have a marvelous day!!!

KrippledWarrior said...

does this mean my crippledness is due to a lack of faith on my part?

Stacy Wittkamp said...

Faith is important, but I have never taken it to mean that if I don't receive the miracle I want, it was because of a lack of faith on my part necessarily. I have faith in who my God is...nothing is impossible for him, but I also have the faith in Him to know that whatever he does, it is with my best interest in mind. I have faith in WHO HE IS not just WHAT HE DOES.
There are many examples of people with great faith (Paul for one), where God does not heal them from their affliction. In John 9, Jesus explains that somethings are allowed to happen "so that the work of God can be displayed in his life."
God is more interested in transforming me into the likeness of His son than making me comfortable all of the time. I trust Him to do that in the way that's best for me. However that looks.

Sharon Sloan said...

Kelly, thanks for inspiring me to "be a Berean" (Acts 17:11)and do further studying on this! :) Neat to see what the KJV says about this and the root words, etc.

This post also reminded me of Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

In my Precepts Bible class today, Kay Arthur said (in her video teaching) -- "Our unbelief does not change the character of God or the Word of God." I love that!

Good stuff, Kelly!

Beth in NC said...

Wonderful post Kelly. I shudder at the thought of blocking a blessing by my own unbelief. I pray He would always find me believing and expecting.


Sonya Lee Thompson said...

I have to say that I don't believe Kelly was saying we won't receive because of our lack of faith necessarily, but because God may be saying "no."

He is always ABLE to heal, and I believe He was able in His hometown, except they didn't believe He was the Messiah. That is really the point. If we have faith for salvation (which I'm assuming all commenters here have) then we have faith enough for healing. But there are times when God chooses NOT to heal. We may never understand the reasons why.

The quoted scripture's here do NOT say that Jesus didn't do miracles because of their lack of faith, but it says Jesus was amazed at their unbelief, referring to their inability to believe their neighbor could be the Messiah.

Think about it, if you were in a coma, you could not have your own "faith" but God could still choose to heal you. Just a thought.

God loves all of you (and me) and that is perfectly clear. I agree with several of you that God is more interested with our journey and heart state then weather or not we are healed.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good post, and some very good comments. I'll be brief b/c I'm out of town and only have a few minutes on this computer.

The "couldn't do" of Mark 6 has had me scratch my head a lot before. Does it mean that Jesus is powerless in the face of doubt or unbelief? No. Right after this statement in v.5 there is further explanation: "He could not do any miracles there, EXCEPT lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them." So, even here Jesus did some miracles.

I think the "could not" does not refer Jesus being limited by what he COULD do, but by what he CHOSE to do. He wanted to meet faith, and bless people based on their faith. Not only did these people lack faith (v.6), but they took offense at Jesus (v.3), a stronger response, I think, than just doubt or lack of belief.

Contrary to what many people believe today, Jesus did not just go around dispensing healings. As Stacy said above, Jesus was really looking for spiritual transformation in people. Physical miracles were not an end in themselves, but the means to an end. They drew peoples' attention to a new work God was doing in Jesus.

I don't think lack of faith is the reason people have handicaps or illnesses they don't recover from. Paul had immense faith but had a thorn God chose not to remove. No one had more faith than Jesus and he died. Physical healing and comfort is not the ultimate goal in Jesus ministry with us.

Does that mean I don't believe in God's miraculous work among us today? Absolutely not! God can and does do amazing things among us, miraculous things. I believe he still works wonders that we can't explain. But it is up to him to decide what those miraculous works are.

A friend of mine was paralyzed from the neck down in an acrobatic accident 30 years ago. He was married only 6 weeks at the time. But, his wife stayed with him, they adopted a little boy, and they are a very happy family today, even though he is still in a wheelchair. Would anyone deny the work of God in this family's life? There was not a physical healing, but what amazing spiritual work God has done in that Christian family!

I don't know what work God may want to do in our lives today. And I do believe he can do whatever he wants to, with our consent or not. But, I believe he also chooses to do much of his work on the basis of our faith in him and desire for his presence in our lives.

God will not force us to believe him, to be saved, or to live faithfully. He allows us to accept all these blessings by faith.

Good post, Kelly, and great discussion. wb

Warren Baldwin said...

Whoops, guess I wasn't so brief!

Warren Baldwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue J. said...

Haven't been able to stop thinking about this post since yesterday. Wishing that we all didn't have just our words on a page--especially when it was a word in the Bible that got us thinking so much!! The commentary has been just wonderful to read. Kelly, it's all good, girl--you've really helped us grow this week!

I'm in the midst of Beth Moore's study on the fruit of the Spirit. She is talking about peace this week, and I read something I had to share here:

"Christ didn't change His circumstances to make them bearable. He mastered them at the peak of their impossibility. Yes, Christ had perfect peace in the storm."

She's talking about Jesus' walking on water, here, but she speaks to His character beautifully and it dovetails with what we talked about with Kelly's post. Jesus could have made it possible to have performed miracles for his hometown crowd, but it is doubtful that He would have known peace in that--given that the people's hearts were lacking faith. They wouldn't get the bigger picture He has to offer.

Yet, doesn't Jesus show His mastery over a situation that might otherwise have undone another?

Everybody didn't have to know Him or love Him. He came with a sword, not to bring peace. But, we can know His peace when we accept Him and have faith in Him.