Apr 11, 2010

Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5 - William Styles

Matt. 13:58, “And he did not many might works there, because of their unbelief.” Mark 6:5, “And he could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.” Often quoted to prove either that the unbelief of sinners prevents Christ from saving them, or that the unbelief of Christians hinders the Holy Ghost from saving sinners in their congregations. But—

1. The persons mentioned were Jews, who in the face of the plainest evidence, refused to acknowledge the Messiahship of Jesus. That was the unbelief referred to, the obstinacy and stupidity of which excited the wonder of the human mind of the Lord (Mark 6:6).

2. The ‘could not’ of Mark 6:5, is explained by the ‘did not’ of Matt. 13:58. It does not mean that Christ’s power was restricted—since it required as much Divine energy to work one miracle as many—but that it was not becoming for such characters to be indulged with the sight of works of great moment.

3. There is no parallel between these men who “were offended,” i.e., “caused to stumble” at Jesus, and a sinner who, not possessing the principle of Faith, cannot exercise it—or between them and true believers, whose faint and feeble Faith does not rise to fuller and stronger acts of belief. We may blame weak Christians—but such do not stumble at Christ, deny Him His just honour as the Messiah, or seek to impede His sovereign operations of grace. He fulfills the good pleasure of His will, and nothing hinders the progress of His work.

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