We Should Be Amazed
Last week, we considered some things that are sometimes surprising, but should not be; this week, we will consider some things that should be a source of amazement to us.
We Should Be Amazed at the The Power of Jesus. While the things we have previously considered are things not to marvel at, the power of Jesus is something worth our wonder! Consider just some of the things He did:
He healed the sick. So many times, Jesus healed the sick who came to Him —all of them. On one occasion, after Jesus had just heard the news of the death of John the Baptist, He withdrew to a deserted place (Matt. 14:13), likely to grieve about it. But when the crowds heard it, they followed Him. What did Jesus do? Did He drive them away in anger? Did he tell them they would just have to wait because He needed “some personal time”? No, we find that Jesus “had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14). On another occasion, we find “great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them” (Matt. 15:30), and “the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matt. 15:31). When we read of these great miracles, and the fact He healed so many — every one that came to Him, without fail — we should likewise be amazed!
He calmed the wind and sea. On one occasion, when Jesus was with the disciples in a boat on the sea of Galilee and a storm arose, Jesus slept while the disciples feared for their lives, eventually coming to Him and saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” (Matt. 8:25). After He rebuked them for their fear and then calmed the wind and the sea, “the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” (Matt. 8:27). I am confident I would have been marveling, too, and every one of us today should still be in awe at the great power demonstrated by Jesus!
The point that should not be overlooked or downplayed when we consider all Jesus did is that these great miracles, signs, and wonders proved Jesus was who He claimed to be: The Christ and Son of God. Jesus did many more things than what we have considered, and even much more than what is recorded, but these things are recorded “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30, 31). Let us marvel at the wonderful power demonstrated by Jesus, but let us not stop there; let us also consider what these things mean, and let us believe He is who he claimed to be: Jesus, the Christ and the Son of God, the Savior of all mankind.
We Should Be Amazed at the Fact of the Resurrection of Jesus. The fact of anyone being raised from the dead should be simply incredible, and Jesus was not the first, nor the only, to be raised. By the power of God, Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24); by that same power, Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-37); Paul raised to life the man who had fallen out of the window at Troas (Acts 20:9-12); and Jesus Himself raised the son of the widow at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and Lazarus (John 11).
But the resurrection of Jesus was truly unbelievable! When Jesus was crucified, the disciples had seen the events leading up to and after it, so they knew He was dead and they left knowing that He had been buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-56); they had no expectations of anything more than going to the tomb on Sunday morning and dressing the body with spices for preservation. But when the women arrived at the tomb, they found it empty and were told that Jesus had risen (Luke 24:1-7). They went and told the apostles, and some ran to the tomb. Peter went to the tomb and “saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened” (Luke 24:12). Later, when Jesus came to the disciples, He showed them His hands and feet as evidence He was the same Jesus who had been nailed to the cross, but “they still did not believe for joy, and marveled” (Luke 24:41). Especially for those who had been eyewitnesses to His terrible death, and who had most likely been discouraged when they saw Him draw His last breath, it is no wonder they “did not believe for joy,” and it is no wonder they marveled!
But let us not miss the meaning of this, either; the disciples marveled at the resurrection of Jesus, but rejoiced, also — for the fact He was alive again, but also for what it meant. Paul reminds us that it was the resurrection by which He was “declared to be the Son of God” (Rom. 1:4). The resurrection made this declaration because God would not have raised up an impostor or fraud! But it was the resurrection that also paved the way for our resurrection and without it, we would still be lost in our sins (1 Cor. 15:12-21); it is His resurrection, Peter wrote, that has given us “a living hope” of the heavenly inheritance (1 Pet. 1:3); and it is His resurrection that gives meaning to the act of baptism, where Peter says we are saved (1 Pet. 3:21). Let us also marvel at the simple fact of His resurrection, but let us rejoice at what it means for us!
We Should Be Amazed That Some Leave the Truth and Go Back into the World. Finally, we should be amazed at those who have learned the truth of the gospel, but who have since been led astray. We should be amazed because, as the writer of Hebrews put it, “they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6). The shame and the pain of the cross would be reinstated and relived, if only in figurative terms, should they turn their backs on Him and follow after something else. They would effectively deny Him and reject Him by doing so, publicly declaring, by their turning away, that He was not worthy, though this was the Son of God and the only sacrifice that could be made. Let us likewise marvel that anyone who has had a knowledge of Christ, and the great sacrifice He made, would ever turn away from that! There is no other Savior!
We should be amazed at those who turn back because, when they do so, they are surrendering the hope of eternal life and turning their backs on the reward of the faithful. The Scriptures teach us plainly that those who turn away from Christ — for whatever reason— are giving up the promised reward of eternal life in heaven and of their own salvation (Heb. 10:34-36, 39). Why would anyone do this? If we know that hell awaits the guilty — the unbelieving and the unfaithful ones — why would we give up forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven? We should marvel at this!
And, finally, we should be amazed, and greatly saddened, at those who turn their backs on Christ after obedience because, as Peter wrote, “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). When we considered that “the beginning” was a state of being lost in our sins, without God, without Christ, without forgiveness, and considered enemies of God (Rom. 5:10), we might truly be amazed that anyone would want to go back to that state, but even more when we think about a worse state! How can it be worse than being the enemies of God? I don’t want to find out! And why would one give up the hope of eternal life for that?
Yes, there are some things that are truly worthy of our amazement. — Steven Harper