Amazement and Its Two Very Different Reactions
Amazement is the wonder I experience at a circus. For a few short hours, I’m amazed by each performer. It holds my attention, but I walk away unchanged. Therefore, it is just another entertaining afternoon. I’m amazed yet unfazed.
“When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed” (Mark 6:2). They were amazed yet unfazed, because their amazement was not mixed with faith. “And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3). It was just another day at the circus for them.
It’s a different story for the people in Matthew 15:31. “The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” Their amazement with Jesus was mixed with faith in Him which produced His life within them. They were amazed and then they praised!
Amazement and faith are not the same thing. One lives on the surface; the other lives deep inside our being. Amazement when not connected, combined, and intertwined with faith bounces off our heart like a rubber ball and lands in the ditch every time. However, when amazement is meshed and interlocked with faith, it penetrates below the surface into the heart and produces new life, hope in Jesus, and sets the stage for miracles. This, in turn, establishes groundwork for more amazement.
As He walked the earth, our Savior and Lord also experienced amazement and two very different reactions. Back to Mark chapter six, “He was amazed at their lack of faith” (v. 6). But then we hear Jesus say about the Centurion in Luke 7:9, “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’” So, Jesus is amazed by our faith or lack of it.
The Christmas season is an amazing time of year. We can choose to treat it like an evening at the circus and be totally unfazed by its true meaning, or we can celebrate the festivities with faith in Jesus Christ, experience His joy and hope, and give Him praise.
After all, Christmas is the season for joy. Yet for you, this year may have been one for the record books in the difficult category, marred by loss or a fractured relationship, illness or financial ruin. Whatever the case may be, there is still joy to be had. We can say like Paul, “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor. 6:10). It’s a choice we make every day; but how? By giving and receiving. Both are equally important to our joy level.
Get out there! Participate in the Christmas festivities. Give joy to others. Make someone smile. Often we mistakenly believe that after we give of ourselves to God and others that joy will automatically fall from the overhead bin of heaven and cover us head to toe. Not always. We must reach out and receive His joy. Sometimes we’re better at giving joy than receiving as if we’re exempt from God’s joy. No way! God demonstrated giving and receiving when He gave us his Son Jesus so that He might receive us to Himself for all eternity.
Amazement. Today be amazed by the love Jesus has for you, combine it with faith in Him, be changed, and give Him praise. People in heaven are there by choice and not by chance. They are eternally amazed, and Jesus is forever praised.
Celebrate Christ’s birth and the joy of the season with faith, family, and friends. Receive His joy; it’s your decision. And you can say with the Apostle Paul, “I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds” (2 Cor. 7:4). Merry Christmas!