I have some students who are great at playing school. They pay attention, behave well, do their homework, and participate in class. Sounds like the ideal student- right? True, these students are great to have in class but I can get frustrated because I want more for them. I neglected to mention they put in just enough effort to get the min grade and no more. They are uncomfortable being challenged to think outside the box or reason because their grade could suffer if they don’t know the answer immediately.
I also have students who aren’t so concerned with grades. They either haven’t figured out the game or don’t care to play. They are more courageous about thinking outside of the box. Earlier I did some of the same activities in an honors class and non-honors class. I was more amazed by the regular classes because they took risks and stepped out whereas many in honors held back worried about grades.
Twice in the Bible, Jesus was amazed. The first record comes in his hometown where the people took offense at Mary’s boy teaching in the synagogue.
“He [Jesus] was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 6:6
Luke 7 tells a much different story. Jesus entered Capernaum where a well-respected Centurion had a servant who needed healing. He sent men to ask for Jesus’ help then when he heard Jesus was on the way, he sent more messengers to tell Jesus he was unworthy of hosting him under his roof. He said as a man of authority he could issue a command knowing it would be obeyed so he asked Jesus to just speak the word of healing. This man stopped Jesus in his tracks.
“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:9
Three insights to note-
- It was not those who went to church (synagogue) who amazed Jesus but a non-Jew who wouldn’t even be welcomed in the Jewish temple.
- While the hometown Jews took offense at Jesus, this Centurion reverenced him so greatly he didn’t feel worthy to even approach Jesus personally.
- Growing up in and/or going to church alone doesn’t indicate faith. Faith requires actions. The Centurion’s actions demonstrated a faith that amazed Jesus!
Twice Jesus was amazed by others- one by their lack of faith and the other at such great faith. Bringing it home… do I amaze Jesus? If so, in what way- positively or negatively? Going through the steps and rituals of religion without really believing, building a relationship with Jesus, and stepping out in faith isn’t very amazing. So how will I live today? Will I step out and stand on faith? Will I play the game of religion like some of my students play the game of school? What impression will I leave on Jesus?