More than Amazing

Luke 11:14 “Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.”

The crowd in front of Jesus was not able to ignore what he had done for the demon-possessed man. Luke tells us that they were “amazed.” This is not bad in itself. These people should have been amazed. No one else could give commands to spirits the way that Jesus did. No one else could do many of the things Jesus did: Give orders to the elements of nature, instantly heal diseases, make baked bread and dead fish grow. You know the stories. Who wouldn’t be filled with wonder?

David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear on TV. Criss Angel appeared to levitate between buildings. David Blaine turned a cup of coffee into a cup of money. Their work is amazing. We are entertained. But you know that it is all done with camera angles, distraction, wires. They’re called magic “tricks” for a reason. These guys might perform for patients in a hospital. You don’t find them attempting to cure them.

Amazement was an appropriate reaction to Jesus’ power over the demon. But it was also an inadequate one. When Jesus turned water into wine, that story concludes with the words, “He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” Faith is the missing element in this account. The crowd is pleased, awed, impressed. But they aren’t really changed.

That’s still a problem, isn’t it? Relief from demons is not the thing people come to Jesus for so much today. Relief from family problems, relief from financial problems, some time to escape from the grind and feel uplifted and be “spiritual” at worship—this is the help people seek today. These are all fine so far as it goes. Again, the crowd is pleased, even entertained. But are they changed? Do they go away with faith, with a stronger trust and attachment to Jesus? Are they ready to follow him wherever he leads? Are we?

Jesus didn’t come to solve our dilemmas, end our boredom, or fill our leisure time in a wholesome way. He came to win our loyalty, make us his family, transform our hearts and lives. He came to forgive our sins, relieve our guilt, and secure us for eternity. Anything less than full faith in him is an inadequate reaction on our part.

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