And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. Mark 6:5-6

Among Jesus’ closest friends and family, there was an epidemic of unbelief. Those who witnessed his development from an infant, to an adolescent, to an adult just could not comprehend the source of Jesus’ wisdom and power. And, because of their lack of faith, Jesus was held back. He was unable to offer truth and healing to those he dearly loved.

What a contrast. Up until now people have marveled at Jesus as he taught with authority, performed unlikely healings, and accomplished phenomenal miracles. Now the tables have turned when Jesus marvels. Where there was faith and healing, people were amazed. Now, where there is a shortage of faith and shortage of healing, Jesus is amazed. Surprise can come in several facets. The people’s marveling may have elicited awe or joy, but Jesus’ marveling must have been painstakingly difficult to endure. He was forced to hold back himself because his loved ones weren’t ready to receive him. For it was not for lack of desire on Jesus’ part.

Here, Jesus’ withholding became a grace. If he would have performed a smattering of miracles or healings, what good would that have done? Especially when Jesus’ desire was not simply to make others happy or find freedom from their boundage, his deepest desire was for them to receive him. Sometimes Jesus delays in answering our requests for healing because his deepest desire is for us to receive him.

What area of your life are you wanting greater freedom or healing? Might Jesus want to heal you but you doubt he can? Or perhaps you haven’t asked him to heal? Or perhaps Jesus wants you to receive his presence rather than being easily satisfied with his gift of healing? Take some time today to sit with these questions and talk with God about the current state of your faith.

By Yvonne Biel