Astonished or Afraid?

by Mar 18, 2016Easy and Light

Astonished or Afraid?

The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear.

Mark 10:32b (NLT)

M y Lent reading plan has me hanging out in the book of Mark in preparation for Easter. If the book of John is a love story, Mark is an action thriller, with snappy dialogue and vivid adverbs. I can easily picture myself in the midst of the throng, waiting for Jesus’ next miracle and hanging onto his every word.

The above verse in Mark 10 caught my eye last week. Prior to this scene, Jesus has offered some fairly counter-cultural teaching on divorce, wealth, power and children. But the disciples and the rest of the people demonstrate two very different reactions to Jesus’ radical words.

Lord God, help me to trust in what you are doing so I may respond in awe and wonder to your ways. Bring me continually closer to you so I can be amazed and not afraid.

The people were afraid. Maybe Jesus’ teachings on riches and marriage hit a little close to home. Perhaps they were frightened of what he might expose next. Regardless, his words filled them with fear instead of hope; terror instead of wonder.

The disciples, however, were astonished. After all, they’d seen a bit more than the people. Just a few days before, Jesus had blinded them with his radiance and introduced them to two heroes. They’d had front-row seats to all his miracles. Granted, they still didn’t fully get it – just a few short verses later they were jockeying for position in his kingdom. But while the people were terrified, the disciples were amazed. They felt awe instead of fear.

What about me? When God acts in a way that puzzles me or his Word tells me something that is hard to understand, am I full of fear or full of wonder? The disciples’ response was possible because of their close relationship with Jesus. They spent time with him, so they trusted him – even when they didn’t fully understand. May I do the same.

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