“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’” Matthew 8:10 (NIV)
I received a phone call a few weeks ago that drastically shifted my day. In response, I texted some friends for prayer over the stressful situation that phone call brought. Later, I was amazed by how much I felt God work in my life that day.
My friends’ faith carried me through.
Sometimes scrolling through social media leaves me feeling shocked and amazed at the things people are willing to say online but never in person. If we aren’t careful, our faith in others can be easily shaken by harsh words from strangers.
Other times, I’m delighted and amazed by something like a short, viral video of a man holding up traffic so a momma goose and her goslings can cross the road. And my faith in humanity feels like it is restored again.
Think about the last time you felt amazed, either positively or negatively. Were you left feeling hopeless or hopeful? What was the evidence that made you feel that way?
In English, the word amazed can have either positive or negative connotations. And there are two examples in Scripture of the way that Jesus was amazed by the faith of someone standing before Him.
One example is found in Mark 6:1-6. In this passage, Jesus is in His hometown of Nazareth, but Scripture says “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them,” because of the people’s lack of belief (Mark 6:5, NIV). It says in verse 6 that Jesus was “amazed” by their lack of faith.
And then we see the complete opposite in Matthew 8:5-13. Here we see a centurion pleading with Jesus to heal a servant in his home. The centurion is full of so much faith and belief in what he knows Jesus can do. The text tells us that the servant is instantly healed. And it says in verse 10 that Jesus was “amazed” by this man’s faith.
Two very different stories of Jesus being amazed by faith. One brought on by doubt, the other by desperation.
Here’s the hard question.
As Jesus looks at us today, which amazed is He?
If we’re honest, I think a lot of us, myself included, couldn’t say that our faith looks similar to the centurion’s.
Often, our own circumstances leave us feeling skeptical about faith. When we believe and yet don’t see, doubt tries to convince us faith isn’t real, at least not for us.
But today is a really good day to make a decision not to be like the Nazarenes in Mark 6. That day in Nazareth, many missed out on experiencing a miracle because of their lack of faith in Jesus. I don’t want to be so full of unbelief that God is unable to work in my life.
Sometimes when my faith is feeling skeptical, I go back to the last time I saw God do something that revealed His faithfulness to me or even someone else. I replay that evidence of faith again and again.
And if we can’t see the evidence in our own lives, we can always see the evidence in the Bible. Hebrews 11 is a chapter full of evidence of faith from people who have gone before us.
Friend, God does not ask for perfect faith.
He asks us to stay in process with our faith.
Sometimes we’ll be the centurion, and sometimes we’ll be the Nazarenes of Mark 6. But no matter where we are today, God is eager for us to extend our mustard-seed faith toward Him.
God, thank You that faith isn’t about perfection. Help me to see the evidence of You all around me today, in Your Word and in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Nicki Koziarz’s newest book and study guide, Flooded: The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life Is Hard and Doubt Is Rising, is a great way to start strengthening your faith today. Grab a copy of Flooded and the Flooded Study Guide in our bookstore!
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV)
Think about the generation before you. Are you experiencing something in your life that’s evidence of the faith of someone who is no longer here on earth?
What is one way you hope others will see evidence of faith through your life?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.
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