19 Aug 2018

The Power of Faith

Religious 7 Comments

I am sure I’ve commented on this before, but I recently read the following with my son and wanted to share. This is from the beginning Mark 6:

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 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? 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. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 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.

This is an amazing passage, particularly when we couple it with all the examples of Jesus performing a miracle and then saying, “Your faith has healed you.”

Now on the one hand, I don’t want to draw too sweeping a conclusion from this. God created the universe de novo, and Jesus rescued us even when we were dead to sin, so I don’t want to say, “God literally can’t help you if you don’t work with Him.”

Even so, I think the above excerpt teaches us much about how the world works. Even in a purely secular context, can’t you identify with this? I bet the hardest crowd for a rock star or professional magician would be the people they went to high school with.

7 Responses to “The Power of Faith”

  1. Mark says:

    As the parallel passage in Matthew says, “”A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:57, 58 Apparently, Jesus limits the miracles He performs in someone’s life based on the amount of faith or unbelief they have.

    But what I’d like to point out in this passage is the question, “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?” This shows us that the Roman Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary (like almost all of their doctrine) is in error.

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      Mark, brother and sister were often used in Greek to mean cousin brother and cousin sister. And the early Church Father Jerome says this:

      “James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord’s passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles and even this is claimed by some to have been published by some one else under his name, and gradually, as time went on, to have gained authority.”


      • Mark says:

        Brother and sister were also used to mean brother and sister. The common, but incorrect, claim of the Catholics is that the passages in Matthew and Mark referred to cousins. I doubt you will take the time to listen to this, but James White (along with a zillion others over the years) has destroyed that argument here:


  2. Harold says:

    I took it mean brother and sister to mean fellow member of an organisation or group. Definition 2 of brother from Cambridge Dictionary.

    “a man who is a member of the same group as you or who shares an interest with you or has a similar way of thinking to you”

    • Mark says:

      Got that from the context, did you? I’ve read enough of your comments to know you aren’t that stupid.

      • Harold says:

        Actually when I first read it I thought “What! They were all siblings!” Ths was so surprising to me that I rejected this interpretation and thought “surely they mean as in brotherhood”, which is probably some sort of fallacy.

        To me the context suggests proper siblings, but I am not familiar with how these terms were used. It matters little to me either way, but I lazily thought I would have heard more about it if the siblings interpretation was correct.

        • Mark says:

          Harold: Actually when I first read it I thought “What! They were all siblings!”…To me the context suggests proper siblings…

          Actually, you were right – it’s the plain reading of the text. You don’t need to watch the whole youtube above (almost two and a half hours), if you just watch White’s opening statement, you will find out you were exactly right. His opening statement is about 25 minutes long – from 4:46 to 29:30 . Just have it on in the background and listen to it while you are doing something else.

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