Read Luke 7 here or click on the speaker icon below to listen.
Marvel… “a sense of astonishment, whether critical or inquisitive, or admiration with a nuance of awe or fear.”
Marveled is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible, generally concerning the crowds’ reaction to what Jesus is teaching and doing.
But Jesus -- God in the flesh -- marvels only on two occasions: Faith and unbelief.
The centurion – not only a Gentile(non-Jew) but a Roman soldier; the enemy of the Jews – is the one with faith. He believed Jesus would heal his servant and friend, even if Jesus just spoke it to be so. And from miles away, with a word from Jesus, his servant & friend is healed. Unexpected and pure belief. Jesus marveled at his faith.
Contrast that to the Jewish community in Jesus’ hometown – His own people who should know Him the best – they were the ones with unbelief. And very few miracles occurred in their midst. Unexpected and debilitating unbelief. Jesus marveled at their unbelief. Familiarity can breed unbelief, but unexpected belief can come from anyone and anywhere.
Jesus is described as having compassion when he sees a weeping mother whose dead son was being carried out. “Do not weep,” Jesus says to the mother as he turns to the dead child, saying, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the dead man stands and speaks. There is nothing too far gone for Jesus to resurrect.
John the Baptist’s disciples report all these things to him, and John sends them back to Jesus with a message, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” You see, John is in prison. The Jewish people are still oppressed. Things aren’t going down the way he thought they would. Jesus tells John’s disciples to report back to him that the blind are received sight, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. Jesus knows John will know Him by what He was sent to do.
Meanwhile, a Pharisee invites Jesus to eat at his house. While there, a “woman of the city” walks in, falls at Jesus’s feet weeping, wets His feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, kisses His feet, and then anoints them with ointment. The outraged Pharisee can’t believe Jesus would allow a sinner such intimate access to Him. But this is who Jesus came for. He responds with a parable of a moneylender with two debtors…one with a reasonable debt and one that was nearly impossible to pay. The moneylender cancels the debt of both men. Jesus asks which would love him more. “The one with the larger debt,” they respond. Jesus, looking at the weeping woman, shares that those whose many sins are forgiven in turn love much.
We won’t experience the exuberant, overwhelming joy of forgiveness and restoration offered by Jesus if we don’t’ understand the depth of our sin and external consequences without Him. To be forgiven much is to love much.
Is Jesus marveling at you? For faith or unbelief?
Why do you think Jesus responded the way he did to the question about who Jesus was by John the Baptist’s disciples?
Do you truly believe you are a sinner in need of a Savior?
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