The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
When was the last time you were amazed by God? I’ve heard people talk about God’s power through prayer for years. I’ve experienced it myself at times, but I have to admit that some of those examples of power can be explained without resorting to God. I’m reminded of the skeptic who, seeing the abandoned crutches and canes, supposedly left by those healed at the Marian shrine at Lourdes, said, “I’ll believe when I see a wooden leg left behind.”
I can claim to be amazed that God has granted me all the provision I need, but could as easily say it was my hard work that allowed that to happen. Since I haven’t received a check directly from God, there’s a limit to my amazement.
When the people in Capernaum watched Jesus heal that possessed man, they saw the people of God going from a defensive posture to an offensive posture. The whole Mosaic Law had not been established as a means of taking the world for God. It stands as more of a hedge against ruin. Yes, there were some moments of offense in the Old Testament. Joshua’s move into Canaan springs to mind, but largely the watchword of the people in the Old Testament was “Don’t mess it up!”
That changed on a Saturday in Capernaum, leading to the people being amazed. And we should continue to be amazed. No, we don’t have Jesus physically present with us, but he has promised to be with us. As we read through the book of Acts, we find amazing things following Peter and Stephen and Paul and Philip. We should be experiencing amazement within the church, at least now and then.
But are we? When was the last time you were amazed by God? And if you’re not being amazed by God, then why do you think that’s happened? From my own experience, I know that when I don’t feel God close, it’s because I’ve drawn away. When I don’t find myself amazed by God, it’s probably because I’ve tried to do so much for myself that I remove many opportunities for amazement.
Perhaps we’re not amazed by God because we need to be the vehicles through which the amazing deed takes place. Perhaps we can, enlivened by the Spirit, change the world, heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead (Matthew 10:7-8) Can we have faith and still be amazed? Give it a try. You might be amazed at what happens.