The Consequences of Unbelief Part 1
1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
~Mark 6:1-6 (KJV)
In this passage of Scripture, the Lord Jesus has just arrived in Galilee and is on his way to Nazareth (his home town). The Bible makes it clear that the disciples are with him and are following him to Nazareth. When they arrive, Jesus begins to teach and preach in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day.
The Bible states that these people were astonished, or amazed at the wisdom with which Jesus spoke, and this caused them to declare: “from whence [or from whom] hath this man these things?…that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?”
The people in the synagogue knew that Jesus could not be teaching with such wisdom and authority if he was merely a man; they also knew that the mighty works (i.e., miracles) which Jesus had performed in other cities could not be done by any man, but only by God alone. Thus, we clearly see from our text that there was evidently some conviction in these people’s hearts that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. However, by the end of our text, we realize that not only was the conviction of God present upon these people’s hearts, but we also realize that the reason why Jesus was rejected in verse number four was because of the people’s unbelief. Let’s take a look at verse 6 again:
6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. ~Mark 6:6 (KJV)
The Bible says that Jesus “marvelled because of their unbelief.” Again, putting this into context: this was Jesus’ hometown. Most of these people had known Jesus when he was just a little boy and as a teenager. Yet, they refused to believe that Jesus was the Christ. They refused to respond to the conviction of God upon their hearts that this was indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah promised of old. Why? Because of unbelief.
You might be asking, why couldn’t they just look in the Old Testament and see how prophecies were being fulfilled right before their eyes? Why were they so doubtful? The reason is because the unbelieving heart suppresses the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The people were amazed and astonished at how Jesus taught and how he preached and they remembered the mighty works that He had done, many an exact fulfillment of what had been recorded in Old Testament prophetical books like Isaiah. However, even with this conviction upon their hearts, the people resorted to carnal and worldly knowledge to justify their unbelief. Let’s take a look at verse 3:
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. ~Mark 6:3 (KJV)
The people focused on the fact that they knew Jesus’ earthly family and the fact that they knew his mother, brothers, and sisters as justification for why they could not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Perhaps they were thinking: Jesus MUST be a man: we grew up with Him! However, they failed to remember that Jesus had been born of a virgin and that Jesus’ Father was God in Heaven, not Joseph, and they also failed to realize that Jesus had been “from of old, from everlasting.” Because of their reliance upon carnal and worldly knowledge and wisdom, they suppressed the conviction of God and doubted God’s Living Word standing right before them. Thus, instead of believing on Christ as God intended, they became offended at Jesus Christ (see the latter half of verse 3).
Many times does God continually prick, convince, and convict a lost sinner through His Holy Spirit to come to Jesus, but as often as Jesus pursues after the lost sinner, the sinner’s unbelieving heart kicks against the pricks and refuses to believe, and instead Jesus becomes a stumblingblock to the lost sinner instead of a Saviour. Unfortunately, for the unbelieving lost sinner, unbelief results in an eternal tragedy for that’s person’s soul: an eternity spent in Hell forever.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” ~Rev. 21:8 (KJV)
Sinner, if you are not saved today, do not let your unbelief prevent you from trusting Christ as your Saviour. Don’t believe the devil’s lies. God loves you and wants to give you a home in Heaven if you simply call on the name of the Lord today and ask Him to come into your heart and save your soul. If you would like to learn more about how you can know Christ as your Saviour, please click here.
Now that we have discussed what unbelief does to the sinner, we will now seek to apply this passage to the saved, born again Christian.
We established earlier from our text that unbelief suppresses the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We see that for Christians, a lot of times we (myself included), suppress the conviction of God on things that God has showed us from Scripture we ought to do. Maybe it’s going soul-winning or giving to faith promise missions. Maybe its starting a ministry or maybe exercising one of your talents in the local Church to use for His Glory. Maybe, if you are a man, God is calling you to preach and you just don’t want to surrender. The reason why many Christians choose not to respond to these various convictions and callings is because of unbelief.
People don’t surrender to preach because they don’t believe that they can get in front of people and proclaim the Word of God. People don’t go soul-winning because they don’t believe that they can talk to a complete stranger about the Lord Jesus Christ. People don’t give to world evangelization because they don’t believe that God can use even the smallest sum of money to reach people with the Gospel. People don’t use their talents in the local Church, because they don’t believe that God will use those talents and gifts for His Glory. The key point is: we don’t believe.
And why don’t we believe? Its because of the same reason in our text: we are relying on carnal and worldly wisdom to discern what we can do and what we can’t. We are walking by sight instead of faith. Because we are relying on our own wisdom and knowledge, we quickly forget that we can do “all things through Christ which strengtheneth us”; we forget that “it is God that girdeth us with strength” to do those things which he has called us to do. Thus, we allow this worldly wisdom to be the justification for why we do not believe God can perform a good work in us and as a result, we effectively quench the Holy Spirit of God and choke out His conviction upon us.
We become offended, instead, at the preaching and the preacher instead of simply believing God for who He is, trusting Him, and then obeying his commands. Sometimes, we even become offended or mad at God, because we just don’t understand why he is asking to do a certain thing for His Glory. May I be frank with the reader for a moment and say that God isn’t interested in what we think about something He asks us to do, he simply wants us to obey Him on the basis of his omniscience and omnipotence and He wants us to trust Him every step of the way. The Christian’s walk with the Lord then must be devoid of every iota of doubt and unbelief. We must walk in “full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water”. There should be no room for us to doubt God or to wallow in unbelief: we MUST trust the God who saved us and realize that unbelief only quenches the Spirit, and drains us of our energy, zeal, and fervor to do things for God.
Christian, may you resolve in your heart today and everyday that you will trust God and obey Him no matter what, and that you will let faith dictate your walk with the Lord such that unbelief will have no place in your heart when God asks you to do a thing for His Glory.