Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Too Familiar To Believe

Mark 6:5-6
"And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief."

When I read this verse last week I was troubled. Why did Jesus heal in some situations and not others? Why at other points did he heal all the sick in towns, and then in this story he didn't perform any miracles? This verse explains that it was due to the unbelief of the people. So I asked the question, "Why didn't these people believe what Jesus said. Why were they so obtuse and dense? As i was thinking about this question i was reminded of the beginning of the chapter which says, "Then they scoffed, 'He's just a carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." In other words, they were too familiar to believe.

This seems so counterintuitive. Doesn't it seem like the more familiar you are with God the more you would trust him? The more familiar you become the more he would impact your life? The problem is that the people in this story had the wrong kind of knowledge. They knew about the Christ, yet their knowledge did not go past a intellectual understanding of his character.

The knowledge of God that leads to a changed life is experiential knowledge. Experiential knowledge leads to a grateful heart and passionate desire to follow the living God. When one is truly captivated by the character and depth Christ's mercy he cannot help but be changed. When the majesty and beauty of his love begins to become apparent to us, we then can live the life he wants us to live.

I am often saddened by the apathy in my own life, when I fail to recognize the magnitude of God's love and grace for those who believe. I desire for my heart to be tendered by a "personal knowledge" of God that leads to continued change in my life. May i not be the people in this story who said, "he's just a carpenter." May I be captivated by his majesty and beauty.