Taking Jesus by Surprise?

What do you think? Could anything take Jesus by surprise?

How about this? “And he was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:6, NLT). In His hometown, those who had watched Jesus grow up could not stomach the idea of Him being a mighty prophet. (I chuckle because those townspeople would have fit well into today’s cultural climate: “They were deeply offended…” [v. 3] Deeply offended, anyone? Sound familiar?? Also, could there be a connection between unbelief and being easily offended?). At any rate, I digress. Back to the point. There was something here that caused our Savior amazement: that the people of Nazareth could reach such lows of unbelief! 

That’s not all though. There’s another story where we read about Jesus being surprised. This time, His surprise is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum: “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’” (Matt. 8:10, NLT). Wow! So there are two ways to amaze Jesus:

  • Outstanding unbelief AND
  • Outstanding faith

As I have been journeying through the gospels again, I keep noticing how much Jesus likes faith. Over and over, He said to those He healed, “Your faith has done it.” I love His enthusiastic response to the Canaanite woman: “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire” (Matt 15:28, NKJV). Technically, she was not even supposed to receive the benefits of His ministry yet, as it was still the season targeting “the lost sheep of Israel” (v. 24). Yet, so compelling was her confidence in His goodness, that her faith got her special access to His miracles.

Yes, our Lord really likes faith! The writer of Hebrews takes this even a step further: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Heb. 11:6, NKJV). Apparently, the only way to bring pleasure to God’s heart… is to deeply trust Him and to wholeheartedly believe every word that He utters. 

Reading these truths, it would be easy to fall into the trap of worrying about the quality of our faith. However, we can take profound comfort in what the very next chapter of Hebrews teaches us. Jesus is the Founder and Finisher of our faith, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our trust in Him (Heb. 12:2). It is His job to progressively take us deeper into a lifestyle posture of perpetual trust and confidence in Him. We can rest completely in His promise to do so, as we keep surrendering to Him every day (Phil. 1:6).

So let’s do two things today. One, let’s entrust to Him the job of perfecting our faith. Let’s relinquish the weight of that responsibility entirely to Him. And two, from that place of complete dependence on Him, let’s keep engaging with the process. Let’s keep going to God’s gym and working out our faith muscles. Let’s look for ways to take new steps of faith today. Let’s ask Him even now, “In the next twenty-four hours, Lord, how are you calling me to step out in faith? How can I emulate those individuals in Scripture that amazed You with their faith?”

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Surrendering to Jesus the job of perfecting your faith… and continually making the active choice to trust and believe Him… how do these two things go together? Is it on Him, or is it on us? Both?

17 thoughts on “Taking Jesus by Surprise?

  1. I would like to say both but first in sequence comes faith in Jesus. John 15:5 refers. The ultimate work we do is have faith in the Father and the Son whom He has sent. John 6:29 refers. Yet, ultimately I would think perfecting our faith is accomplished via God the Father working through Jesus, in us. Ephesians 2:8-9 refers. Our works are byproducts, they are not the means. Blessings!

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  2. Such a wonderful post! Wishing you blessings this day. So much to ponder here…thank you for sharing this message of hope of God’s deep and empowering love for us. All we need do is take His hand and trust in his wisdom. He is always there to help us, to show us the way. Faith is the key.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is good. Thought of this subject also how that Jesus is moved by both extremes of the faith spectrum.

    Just read this this week on what faith really is:

    “Trust is the highest expression of faith. It is much more than belief, and it is more than confidence in what God can do. It is a firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability, or justice of another person or thing. It comes from closeness and intimacy.”

    From an excellent book by Donny Willis (Good, Butter, Best: From Dream To Reality’).

    Blessings Jennifer!

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  4. I recall a Robert Hill in the 1970s noting that frightened, weak and trepidatious faith that is placed in a solid bridge will get one across a divide, while confident, strong and unconcerned faith in a broken bridge will not.
    The “quality” of our faith is less important than “in what” we place it. 😉
    Keep feeding on Jesus and passing “the Bread” to the rest of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jesus was really surprised, he always does when he sees people doing unnatural things, belief when you are not called to be part or not believing in him because the supposed understand of his home grounds, happens also with us, we have centuries of stories truth stories of all what he has done but we still do not understand his eternal purpose for his comming..

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Isn’t it amazing to think that Jesus was surprised? I guess that makes sense since He had the whole human experience, and part of beng human is being surprised sometimes! But yes, it really takes some special faith to connect into His eternal purposes! Thank you again 🙂

      Like

  6. Those final two questions I am asking myself right now. Sundays can be a strangely spiritually empty day for me, but maybe I haven’t been asking the right questions. Maybe I haven’t been seeking out what God is drawing me towards on those days?

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