June 30: I'm Amazed

June 30: I’m Amazed

It’s hard to be amazed in our jaded society. We’ve seen fairly astounding things, both in real life and from the imaginations of cinematic geniuses. Sometimes when we see something on the news, we have to do a little mental assessment as to whether it was real or fiction. I think many of us struggled to make sense of what we were watching on the screen on September 11, 2001. We see things every day that would have made our great-grandparents drop their jaws in stunned disbelief, but frankly, it takes a lot to truly amaze most of us today.

During my current study of the life of Jesus, I went through the gospels and circled the many times the writers said that people were amazed or astounded at Jesus. As I looked at these passages, several things stood out, among them the variety of things that caused their amazement and the results of this experience.

It probably isn’t too unbelievable that Jesus’ many miracles caused amazement. He was healing people born blind, lame, mute and deaf. He freed people bound by Satan, both physically and spiritually. In fact, there were a couple scriptures that said people were “overwhelmed with amazement.” Most likely if someone would do such things in our presence—instantaneously and obviously healing and delivering them—even the most jaded among us would probably be amazed.

The people of His time were also amazed at Jesus’ teaching, His forgiveness of sin, by the wisdom of His answers, by His courage in the face of threats, and by His authority. The gospel of Mark emphasizes this, pointing out that they were amazed by His authority in teaching (Mark 1:21), over evil spirits (1:27), and when He claimed the authority to forgive sins (2:12). Luke tells us the people were amazed at His authority and power (Luke 4:36).

Jesus demonstrated amazing authority in His teaching because it came directly from the Father, not through the rules taught by men. Even the unlearned could see the truth, the heart, and the power of God in what Jesus taught. He demonstrated amazing authority over nature through His healing, by creating wine from water, producing a feast from morsels, raising the dead, and commanding the raging tempest to be still. And He demonstrated amazing power over the spirit world by casting out demons by the legion.

One of the things noteworthy about the reaction that people had to their amazement is that “amazement” didn’t always produce worship. It often produced fear and sometimes even offense. All of the gospel accounts say the disciples were afraid when they witnessed Jesus calm the storm. In fact, they often say they were afraid of the storm but terrified of Him. Luke says, “In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water and they obey him'” (Luke 11:25).

The disciples were amazed when Jesus courageously headed out toward Jerusalem in the face of the threats of the Jewish leaders. The scriptures also say that the other followers were afraid. The Jewish leaders, on the other hand, were amazed—at how He constantly outwitted their carefully laid verbal and mental traps and came up with answers which delighted the crown and made them look foolish. But the fear that followed their amazement was not so much a fear of Him and His power, but a fear of how His power undermined theirs, especially with (and over) the people. Their amazement actually ended up moving them to murderous plots. They weren’t the only ones who reacted negatively to amazement. The people in Jesus’ own hometown were, at first, amazed and “spoke well of Him,” but later someone started saying, “Hey, isn’t this just Joseph’s son? Isn’t he just from around here?” and suddenly the people took offense. In fact, one passage says they were furious.

This all leaves us with some questions we need to ask ourselves as we consider this anthem:

  • First, does Jesus amaze us anymore or have we become jaded?
  • What used to amaze us? Have we spent any time lately pondering the fact that He actually loves us so much that He would leave glory, suffer, take on our sin and filth, and die for us?
  • Has the Lord amazed us to the point of fear? Has He acted outside our box to the point that we were more afraid of Him than our original trouble? Have we turned to Him or from Him when He frightened us?
  • Have we asked the Lord to refresh our amazement at Him—not necessarily something new, but renewed?

One of the things that amazed the people of Jesus’ time was the testimony of those He had touched. They were so amazed they couldn’t keep silent—even when He told them to! When we sing this anthem, we are testifying about our amazement at Him. Just like those first-century people, He has touched each one of us. Think of this as you sing—declare it with wonder: I’m amazed!

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries