Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.
23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.
29 After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. 31 So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them. – Mark 1:21-31
Max Lucado said it well: “I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment—but I’m still stunned by his grace!” But we are so jaded these days, it seems like nothing amazes us. We’ve been fooled by the barker’s call one too many times. We’ve been disappointed by the Cracker Jack prize all too often. The cereal boxes have yielded one too many fake decoder rings. There is no long-lost multi-millionaire uncle in Nigeria ready to give you his fortune. Every trick has a solution. Penn and Teller R Us!
We steel ourselves against such deceptions so we are not too easily fooled again,
Maybe the people of Jesus’ day were a bit less jaded. Perhaps they didn’t know better. Maybe they hadn’t been fooled one too many times. They surely might have been more easily enthralled by the latest visiting celebrity. They were surely not as sophisticated.
Reminds me of the bungling counterfeiters who print “perfect” 15 dollar bills. They decide to pass them off on an unsuspecting backwater rube. They ask him for change and he replies, “Sure. How about 2 $6’s and a $3?”
Too many people have been ambushed by underestimating their adversary. We’re not served best by dismissing the responses and reactions of the people of Jesus’ day. They were there. They saw the evil spirit being subdued. They saw the man now released. They saw an amazing thing and they were gripped with amazement.
When’s the last time you’ve been amazed? Have you seen the work of God? Hearts being changed? Self-destruction turned to clean and sober? Stingy turned to generous? Shame turned to confidence? Sin overcome by grace? Or is it too old hat? Have you grown too sated by God’s goodness?
God’s mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness. He forgives sins. He redeems lives from the pit. He is patient with us, in hopes of our repentance. And faith. Faith allows us to be amazed by God’s grace without fear of being taken advantage of.