TRUST: Astonished, Amazed or Offended by Jesus

Last night, I did something out of the ordinary for me. I went to an establishment with a dear brother and friend to eat and watch the fourth game of the 2016 NBA Championship. The response of the people to one another, various plays and players was to be expected. Some people were astonished, amazed or offended at one another or at what players/coaches did in the game.

Being astonished, amazed or offended are not novel reactions or emotions. They have been around for centuries, from the beginning of time. I am sure the first humans, Adam and Eve were astonished and amazed at what they saw and experienced. After the fall of man, I am sure they offended one another too. After reading Mark 5-6, we see those reactions surface again but in response to Christ. This led me to write TRUST: Astonished, Amazed or Offended by Jesus. In that passage, we see how people will react to Jesus. For those who truly TRUST, believe or have faith in Jesus Christ, they were astonished or amazed. For those who did not have TRUST in Christ, they were offended.

Read the text below from Mark 5-6 to see those reactions or responses to Jesus.

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

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.

In that passage, the Word evidences the responses to those who see and hear Jesus or His power in His works. In verse 42, we see they were astonished the Greek word for it is existēmi (eks-ē’-stā-mē) which means to throw out of position, displace i.e. to amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment. In verse 2 of chapter 6, the Greek word for amazed is ekplēssō (ek-plā’s-sō) which means to strike with astonishment:—amaze, astonish. In essence, we learn from those verses that the proper response to Jesus and His works is to be astonished and amazed.

Since we are fallen and fallible beings, we also see the perverted response to Jesus and His works in verse 3 of chapter 6. The Greek word for offended there is skandalizō (skän-dä-lē’-zō) which means to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaphorically to offend. Since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed, we see the people in His hometown stumble and become annoyed. Why? They, like many people today, can’t get past their preconceived notions about who Jesus is. Hear their commentary.

“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

According to ntgreek-word studies, Almost from the beginning of his ministry, Jesus was a stumbling-block, ‘scandalizing’ different groups of people in different ways. First there was the contempt, bred of familiarity, shown to him by his own people in Nazareth (Mark 6.1-6). They had known him for virtually all of his life; he had grown up among them and gone to the local school; they knew his mother, Mary, and his brothers and sisters. He had never been away to university or received any special training. He was their carpenter – and a carpenter should stick to his hammer and nails, not stand up in the synagogue to lecture them, or set up as a rabbi with his twelve disciples. In short, “they were ‘scandalized in’ him – the scandal of inadequate qualifications for a Messiah. As John said (1.11): “he came to his own home” (he uses the same phrase in 19.27 to describe his taking of Mary away from the crucifixion “to his own home”), “and his own people did not receive him.” What a tragedy!

Paul quotes David to explain this stumbling block concept.

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever.” Romans 11:9

We see this concept again in 1 Corinthians 1:23 where Paul says, “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,” Verse 18 of the same passage says, 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. In essence, Paul is saying TRUST: Astonished, Amazed or Offended by Jesus.

Where are you? Are you astonished and amazed at Jesus and His works? Are you entangled by your concept of who you think Jesus is not? What one believes about who Jesus is, His character, and what Jesus can do, His power or work, will determine TRUST: Astonished, Amazed or Offended by Jesus. To reiterate, What a tragedy to not believe in Christ in the right way.


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