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Mark 6:1-6 
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"And He went out from there, and He came into His home town; and His disciples followed Him. [2] And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, 'Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? [3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?' And they took offense at Him. [4] And Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household.' [5] And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. [6] And He wondered at their unbelief."

This passage of scripture has troubled me for years. I believe the words Jesus spoke in John 12:45 with all my heart. He said, "And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me." (NASB) More to the point, He said in John 10:30 "I and the Father are one." (NASB) I affirm the doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus and believe He is fully God. Then why does verse 5 says He could do no miracle there? My understanding of God is that He is all powerful and can do anything. I agree with Job's words, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2 NIV)

What could be so powerful that it kept Jesus from performing miracles? Verse six gives us a clue-it was their unbelief. If faith can have such an impact to do positive things is the opposite true? Can the lack of faith make just as many negative things happen?

Think about the power of faith for a moment. The scripture paints faith as a powerful force that can do amazing things. The author of Hebrews put it this way: "And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, [33] who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, [34] quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight." (Hebrews 11:32-34 NASB)

Faith is more than the power of positive thinking. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV) It is the substance of hope-the things that we have divine assurance of, but it is more than that, it is the evidence of unseen realities. 

If faith is more than positive thinking, then unbelief is more than negative thinking. It is denying the substance of the things we have divine assurance of and it is living without evidence of unseen realities. God has chosen to work though faith and not to work in the atmosphere of unbelief.

Even with that explanation, this passage still troubles me. Not for theological reasons, because I know that an all powerful God can choose how to exercise His power, and can choose to work through faith, not unbelief. I'm troubled by this passage for practical reasons, because I know that God will not work through my unbelief. Think about it-God is not obligated to work through me, or you for that matter. Take Elijah for example. In his lifetime, God worked through him in magnificent ways, but in my opinion, he did not finish well. After a great spiritual battle against the prophets of Baal, Elijah went on a 40-day journey to

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