“5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief…”
Marvel, what an intriguing word. It seems we seldom use it anymore except when talking about super heroes, comic books and movies. When I was a kid, one of my favorite super heroes was Captain Marvel, aka “Shazam”. He was the altar ego of a boy named Billy Batson. All Billy had to do was say the magic word “Shazam”, and he would turn in to Captain Marvel, a man of super human strength, speed and ability. Sometimes, we live out our faith with a “Shazam” Prayer life. We think we can just say a magic word and, “Shazam”, Jesus will do what we need.
Many of us are guilty, (me included) of having a “Shazam” faith at some point in our lives. Sometimes, we think because we know God loves us and wants to do what’s best for us, we can just ask and receive. In fact, sadly there are churches that teach such a name it, claim it, “word of faith ability”. But, that is not a faith at which Jesus ‘marvels’. In fact, that’s a very shallow faith.
There are two times in the New Testament that it says Jesus “marveled” at someone’s faith. One was the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8. He was a foreigner and a pagan, but he saw the divine in Jesus, and placed his faith in Him for the healing of his servant. Jesus marveled at his faith, a stronger faith than He’d seen in all Israel. The second, is in today’s gospel. But, instead of at faith, Jesus marvels at the disbelief of those who’d known Him all His life.
Faith Is Always a Partnership
Faith is always a partnership with God. He doesn’t do for us, what we can do for ourselves. In his book, Beginning To Pray, Anthony Bloom, of blessed memory (Click Here to order the book-a must for every believer!), makes a statement every Christian needs to understand if they are to mature to a faith at which Jesus can marvel. He said, “It is absolutely pointless to ask God for something which we ourselves are not prepared to do” (p. 64). Jesus is much more interested in making a miracle out of our lives, than in doing the miracle for us. He would rather give us the power to overcome our temptations, than to just take them away.
Many years, as Lent begins, it seems I begin the process of learning to become a miracle all over again. Over the rest of the year I fall down in many ways. I sometimes slip back into old habits in my prayers, just wanting God to do something for me…something I know He wants to do. But, I need to remember He wants to do it in and through me, not just for me.
What about you? Do you have a “Shazam” faith, or a faith at which Jesus marvels? When we allow God to make us the miracle, not just ask for the miracle, He marvels at our faith. Then…we are raised from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”