HE MARVELED is something Jesus did two times in the New Testament. Words are precious; words are interesting; words instruct; words are valuable; words bless our lives (cf., Treasure in the Heart). Actually, words are indispensable for learning and receiving the will of the Lord and obeying it. We find the Greek word that is translated marvel used 46 times in the New Testament. A large number of those usages of the word are due to something Jesus did or said causing others to marvel. However, if I have correctly examined these 46 verses, there are two occasions in which Jesus, Himself, marveled at something. It is especially interesting to observe what a contrast these two occurrences provide.
He Marveled because of UNBELIEF…
First in one passage, Jesus is said to marvel at the unbelief of a group of people—Mark 6.6… And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. This incident takes place in the locale of Jesus’ growing up years, the small village of Nazareth. The people of Nazareth knew His trade, His mother, and the members of His earthly family (Mark 6.3).The unbelief of these Nazareth natives caused a sad result—Mark 6.5… And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. What a disappointment these people were to Jesus!
The word marvel comes from the Greek word, thaumazo. It is defined as follows: “to wonder or marvel at some event or object—‘to wonder, to be amazed, to marvel’ (whether the reaction is favorable or unfavorable depends on the context)” [Louw Nida]. The context clearly tells us here that Jesus’ marveling at the faith of the Nazareth folks was not in the category of favorable.
He Marveled because of GREAT Faith…
Second, there is the passage in Luke 7.1-10, where we find Jesus marveling at the GREAT FAITH of the centurion of Capernaum. Luke uses the word marvel here and in the parallel account Matthew also uses it (Mt 8.5-13). Since these are parallels, I count these two verses as one occasion of Jesus marveling.
What caused Jesus to be amazed were words from the mouth of the centurion. The words spoken by this Gentile officer in the forces of Herod Antipas were unlike any Jesus had heard, even among the Jews—Luke 7.9… When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. The words of the centurion which caused Jesus to marvel are recorded in verse 7… Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. This Gentile soldier believed that Jesus had the ability to heal his servant simply by speaking the word. If Jesus would just say he was healed, he would be healed! That caused our Lord to marvel!
Great faith in one instance and great unbelief in the other caused Jesus to marvel. Have you ever thought about causing Jesus to MARVEL at your own faith?
Those souls at Nazareth had been greatly blessed in many ways to have Jesus as a resident. Mark 6.5 tells us that He did heal some sick people in Nazareth. Yet, at one point, they were ready to throw him off a cliff (Luke 4.28-30). How sad!
What could happen to the Lord’s church at Maple Hill if you and I develop within our hearts the kind of faith which would cause it to be said of Jesus: He Marveled?