Here are the things that amazed people about Jesus:
No, I am not being trite and using silly cliches. You know what I mean: ‘Jesus is so awesome!’ Well, yes he is, but we can be far too glib and superficial when we talk about our Lord. So am I guilty of doing this here in calling Jesus amazing? Actually, no. Let me explain.
When I say Jesus is amazing I am referring to the fact that so often in the gospels we read about people being completely amazed at what Jesus said and did. In that sense Jesus certainly was amazing. Since I am once again reading through the gospels, I have been keeping track of all these occasions. I have found at least 50 examples of this.
Here are just some of the things that amazed people about Jesus:
Matthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Matthew 13:54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.
Matthew 27:11-14 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Mark 2:10-12 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Mark 10:23-26 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”
Mark 11:18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
Luke 4:31-37 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
Luke 20:26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.
John 7:15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
Note how both the teachings of Jesus as well as his actions were a cause of amazement to so many. There was something very different and unique about this Jesus. He was not just another run-of-the-mill religious teacher or preacher. Folks could see that he was in a class of his own.
Now Christians are meant to be little Christs. We are to be Christ’s ambassadors and representatives. When people see us and hear us they should be seeing and hearing something of Jesus. Sure, none of us come close to measuring up, but that is our calling nonetheless. As children of God, adopted into his family, all believers should bear a family resemblance. Paul for example could say that we should follow him as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
And another clear indication that Christians should also be amazing in this sense is to simply read the book of Acts. There we find similar things to what we find in the gospels. People were amazed by the early disciples. Here are a few examples of this:
Acts 2:7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
Acts 3:9-10 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 8:9-13 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
Acts 9:21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
Acts 13:12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
To conclude, just today I was reading a new article by Michael Brown in which he was discussing similar sorts of things. His piece is titled: “I refuse to accept the current state of the church”. He writes:
I refuse to accept that the church as we know it in America and the West is the very best the church will ever be. I refuse to accept that the anemic, divided, often powerless version of the church we are so accustomed to seeing here is the only version we will ever see in this world.
Not if the Bible is true. Not if Jesus is Lord. Not if the Holy Spirit has been poured out. Not if God’s promises are real. To the contrary, because the Bible is true. And because Jesus is Lord. And because the Holy Spirit has been poured out. And because God’s promises are real. We will see a glorious church, walking in grace and victory and purity and power. We will see a bride fit for her Groom. We will see the Messianic community that He Himself is building. And the very gates of Hades will not overcome that church.
That is God’s vision, and that is God’s promise – because of which I will not accept the status quo of “church as usual” today. I cannot accept it. And neither should you.
It is an insult to the blood of Jesus and a slur on the power of God, and we should not accept it for a moment as a reflection of the best that the Father has to offer to this world. Not a chance.
That version of the church will not change the world. Or inspire sacrifice and dedication. Or transform sinners into saints. Or set captives free. Or bring glory to God. It will only bring reproach and breed compromise. That version of the church is like the salt which has lost its saltiness. No wonder the world tramples it under foot.
He briefly looks at some amazing things God is doing in Africa, Asia and Latin America and then concludes:
I ask again: If God is growing His church numerically, why can’t we expect growth in all other areas? And why can’t He grow His church again in the West, even dramatically? Where is it written that we should not believe for this and work toward this and expect this?
Later this year, I will celebrate 50 years as a follower of Jesus, which means that I have seen a lot of bad with a lot of good. I am quite aware of our many warts and failings, both corporately and individually, starting with myself.
But just as Jesus did radically change me from who I was into who I am and who I am becoming, so also He wants to do that for all of us. And since I know He is not finished with changing me, I’m confident He is not finished with changing His church.
The opening chapter of my newest book “Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope,” is titled, “There Is More.”
I am confident that the Lord Himself adds His “amen” to those three words. Be assured that, in Him, there is more – much, much more. Let us, then, press on toward our high calling in Him, starting today, right here and now. “Make us into something beautiful, Lord!” www.wnd.com/2021/10/refuse-accept-current-state-church/
Quite right Michael. Those in the world are often amazed at Christians – but for all the wrong reasons. It is time they start being amazed at us in the same way as they were amazed about Jesus.