This morning I was reading in Mark 6, where Jesus returns to his hometown, Nazareth. The people have heard of Jesus’ miracles and authoritative teaching, yet when he comes back home, they utter, “How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?…And they took offense at him” Mark 6:2-3.
Jesus replies that he is honored by people everywhere else except for his hometown, a reoccurring theme that has happened ever since the ancient prophets taught in Israel. The verse that struck me, however, was verse 5 and 6, “And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.” This is the first time in Mark’s gospel that we see that Jesus’ power can be limited for those who do not believe. This is not to say that he could not physically do any miracle that he wanted, because, him being fully God, he had the power to do so. He simply could not bring himself to force his miracles on a hostile, skeptical audience.
Knowing myself, if I was in Jesus’ place, the Nazarenes’ skepticism would have actually prompted me to work miracles, to prove them wrong. Yet, this is another example of our Lord’s great humility. He has no desire to prove himself right, to put people to shame, or to prove them wrong by obvious miraculous works. Instead, he keeps teaching and preaching, drawing those to him who truly believe.
My sincere worry, though, is that other believers and myself sometimes become like Nazareth. How many times do we say ,”Well God doesn’t do that anymore,” or “Well I don’t think God would do that.” How many times do we offer our requests up to him, yet we know in our hearts that we doubt that he will do what we ask! How many times do we enter into a situation without first consulting him! How many times do we make a decision without first asking his guidance! I believe that the reasons we do such things is from a lack of belief. My heart aches to wonder how many times we have limited God and his power by our unbelief!
Do you doubt that God will provide for your family financially? Do you doubt that he can turn your brother, sister, son, daughter, or mother’s life around? Do you doubt that he can bring revival or healing in your church? Do you doubt that he can take your weary and tired heart, and set it ablaze for him? Do you doubt that he can reunite your family, or place you in the job that he wants you? Do you doubt that he can speak to you? Do you doubt that he can heal your cancer, give you a child, or draw your friend to salvation?
My friends! I beg you to please ask him to help our unbelief. An easy believism has plagued our society and culture, that has drawn us to use God as nothing but a cherry on the top of our lives. O, how we could feel his presence and see his miraculous hand if we would only believe!! We must draw ourselves close to him, through the reading of his Word and through prayer, with an open heart, saying, “Lord, help us to understand and to believe!” My friends, I ask you to start this journey with me! I will not stop until I feel the Lord’s presence and see him working! Pray for belief!
Mark 9:24, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
“Heavenly Father, would you please work in our hearts and help us with our unbelief! O, how the inner longing of our hearts is to know you and to see you work in our lives! Do not let us be like your hometown, but lead us to a heightened, stronger belief in you and in your power! Do not withdraw your mighty hand from us O God! We need you to bring us to this belief, for on our own, we cannot come to you. Please strengthen us, speak to us by your Spirit, and prompt us to the reading of your Word and to prayer, that we might draw nearer to you, and that our faith may increase. Oh Lord, I beg you to help us with our unbelief!”