A DAILY DEVOTION FOR JANUARY 10TH
READ THE SCRIPTURE: MARK 5:21-6:6
He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
We can gather up the meaning of this whole account in just a few words: Limited views mean limited lives. That is, if your view of life is so narrow and crabbed, so withered and shrunken as to include nothing but what you can see and feel and taste and smell and hear and reason, then your life is going to be horribly deprived and poverty stricken. This is how it was in Nazareth. Jesus had been in Nazareth the year before. They tried to kill Him on that occasion because He would not do what they wanted. Now He comes back again and teaches in the synagogue, and they are astonished. They ask the right questions: Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works are wrought by His hands!
But their answers to their own questions are horribly limited. Who is this? Is this not the carpenter? Why, He made the table in our house. I remember when we used to feed Him tea and sandwiches for lunch when He came to help us build the house where I live! He was just a carpenter! And His brothers and sisters live here–we know the whole family! Why, He couldn’t be this powerful a man! And they did the incredible–they took refuge in that final resort of all weak and small minds–they ridiculed Him. They took offense at Him and began to discount all He had done.
Therefore, Jesus pointed out to them that this is characteristic of fallen human nature. There was no recognition of His worth, no honor accorded Him in His own hometown. And as a result, there was no mighty work done there. He responded to the few who had faith, but there was nothing the town could boast of. And is it not amazing that through all these centuries, though Nazareth has never been forgotten as the town in which Jesus grew up, yet to this very day it is regarded in Palestine with some sense of embarrassment! They missed their great opportunity.
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What is this all saying–this entire account of the healing of the woman, the raising of Jairus’s daughter, and the reception given him by the people of Nazareth? It is saying to us today, Lift up your eyes and look beyond the visible to the realities of God. Live in the full dimensions of life, as God intended life to be. Life can never be explained entirely in terms of the natural. We are left impoverished and despairing if all we have to depend on is our natural resources, natural power. But God is rich in grace, rich in power, rich in inward strength and sympathy, and His cry to us is, No longer be unbelieving, but believe and have faith that I am at work, and I will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams.
Teach me, Lord to respond with the touch of faith–not the thronging of admiration, but the touch of faith–to this Blessed One who, now in our midst, is ready to meet our need.
Are we responding with life-changing faith as we encounter the living Jesus in the pages of Scripture? Is our life vision being expanded by His indwelling presence?