Notes On Mark’s Gospel (52)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Such Great Unbelief (Chapter 6 Verses 1-5)

The saying familiarity breeds contempt is true, and seen to be so here. The power and effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching is so great the people are amazed (vv1-2). Not just awed, but upset. It is this hostility that Mark fetches out. The questions they ask are not bad questions to ask. But the attitude with which they are asked is the problem. And these works of power, how does he perform such? Well I mean, if we were legitimately to ask those questions and find the source of the Lord’s teaching and miracle power, it would lead us to the right destination, to God (John 7.17). The very fact that they admit miracles are taking place stands to condemn them? They cannot answer their own questions, so they become the more angry. Their carnal reasoning leads them nowhere. They question further concerning his personage “is not this” (v3) being contemptuous, derogatory even. Their reasoning is driving them into a snare from which they will be unable to extricate themselves shortly.

The more familiar people are with a prophet the less they will believe and respect him as such (vv4-6). The unbelief of these people does not negate the power of God in Christ (v5), on the contrary all it does is leave them outside the blessing and kingdom of God. The reason he is unable to do so little there, is explained by Luke’s parallel account (Luke 4.28-30), because they rose up against him, and threw him out of the town, even trying to kill him. There are times when Jesus is amazed at great faith, here he is amazed at this great unbelief. In spite of his powerful preaching and working, folk just plain and simply refuse to believe. And people say to us, if they saw a miracle they would believe. No they would not. However Jesus is not deterred from his work, he goes on from one village to another, committed to teaching the word of God (v6b). This is faith in action. In the final analyses faith must act. To many of us just admitting the truth of the gospel passes for faith. There is never any embarrassment about its implications or out workings, we must make sure we never get into that position. When we outwardly seek the Lord’s help, but can get by fine without it. When we talk about the Lord but are never in the position where we really have to depend upon him. And it shows when things go wrong, go against us, when we face set-backs. Faith continues, goes on. Even if no one else in the whole world believes.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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