January 15, 2021

So Much Unbelief

Mark 6:1-6a

“He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

—  Mark 6:6a

People often like stories about ordinary people becoming highly successful or even becoming royalty—like Cinderella. It’s not unusual to hope for an escape from poverty to be blessed with prosperity.

But the people in Jesus’ hometown didn’t seem to think that way. They figured that because Jesus was born into a carpenter family, there was no way he could grow up to be the Messiah. So when Jesus healed the lame and the sick, when he calmed the storm and cast out demons, it was difficult for the people who knew him growing up to imagine him as anything besides a carpenter.

The trouble was that these people did not accept Jesus’ amazing teachings precisely because they thought they knew him—period.

What a danger it can be for any of us who may think we know everything about Jesus. If Jesus is already familiar enough to us, will we expect anything really great from him?

Instead of the people being amazed by learning who Jesus was, Jesus was amazed that they had so much unbelief. Mark is suggesting that what is more amazing than faith is unbelief! Unbelief requires an exhausting amount of denial and dismissal when we are presented with all the evidence.

Jesus, I can be quite resistant to being impressed. Take away my doubt, my cynicism, and my not being willing to really consider what you have done for me. Forgive my unbelief, and help me to follow you. Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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