He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.
I suppose we must pay particular attention to what Christ marvels at. What are the things that he stares at in awe? What are the things that would ever cause him confusion, wonder, and befuddlement. Here, and in the prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ stares in awe at unbelief.
Jesus comes to his hometown and instead of a homecoming he finds suspicion, dishonor, fear, and exile. And finds himself, strangely powerless. Not that he is without power, but the Lord has chosen to have a kind of peculiar power: for His Mercy to work with our Trust. And when there is no trust, there is nothing to be done.
We know, certainly in the prophets, the Lord could not always make sense of the hardness of the human heart. Our compulsion to depend only on ourselves, to go our own way, to make our own life.
Perhaps, the Lord, in awe, is reminded again of what he already knows: we are helpless in our unbelief. Not only do we not trust, we are unwilling and unable to. We are helpless in our rebellion, unable to do anything but disbelieve. We are stuck in the trust we have in ourselves. Our pride runs deeper than what we can even acknowledge as pride. And this problem is at the heart of God’s people, it is what he finds when he goes home.
A friend this week said the thing we think is ours to give, ours to do: our trust, our faith, is not even ours. And she was right.
The Lord, in his Mercy, will have to do more than marvel. He will have to feed our unbelief.
His Mercy will have to do more than heal, it will have to deliver us from ourselves. His Mercy will have to be the freeing and the leading of our trust. His Mercy will have to rescue our trust, so that our trust can even begin to depends on His Mercy.