I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene…’ So goes the grand old hymn, which has reminded me that it’s too long since I’ve chosen to sing it in church! But it touches on a deep truth: how important it is to continue to be amazed by Jesus.
‘Who is this?’ the disciples utter in total amazement, ‘even the wind and the waves obey him!’ (v41) This passage begins what Mark describes as ‘a day in the life of Jesus’. Over what appears to be one 24-hour period – Mark 4:35-5:43 – Jesus demonstrates his authority over the four things human beings have no ultimate control over: nature, the supernatural, sickness and death. After just one of these outstanding miracles, the disciples are moved to cry out: ‘Who is this?’ Imagine what they were saying by the end of the following day!
Familiarity breeds contempt, as the old saying goes. And it’s possible for this to happen in our spiritual lives, too. Deep truths which made our spines tingle when we first came to faith seem almost normal now. Great answers to prayer get forgotten, the marvellous privileges of being part of a dynamic community for faith taken for granted.
It can happen to all of us: so, this is why today’s passage is so valuable. Yes, we can admire it as a great miracle, an event in history which changed some people’s lives. But let’s also personalise it: let’s see it as an encouragement to keep being amazed by Jesus. May the disciples’ awe be ours.
Today, take a few minutes to remind yourself of some things about Jesus which amaze you. And if it takes longer than you hoped, ask Jesus to show you. At the heart of every person of dynamic faith is that childlike sense of wonder: the great saints of old were mostly just normal people who kept being amazed by Jesus. May their faith be ours: and may we, too, keep being amazed by Jesus the Nazarene.