Astonished Beyond Measure

And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:37

To say they were astonished was not a sufficient description.  The people were astonished beyond measure; they had immeasurable astonishment.  People were observing things in Jesus they had never seen or ever even dreamed of seeing.  With a word He makes the deaf and mute man suddenly able to hear and to speak.

Even before this event others had been struck with amazement at this Jesus.  In a remote area near the sea of Galilee He had cast a multitude of demons out of a man, commanding this horde to enter a herd of swine.  Now the formerly demonized man was in his right mind, and he wanted to follow Jesus.  Jesus told him to stay in his own country and tell others what great things God had done for him.  The account concludes:  And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled [5:20].  These foreigners marveled at Jesus through this man’s words.

Shortly after exorcising the demonized man, Jesus spoke to a twelve year old dead girl; and she rose from the dead!  The account continues: And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement [Mark 5:42].  Who wouldn’t be overcome with amazement…a man just spoke a dead girl to life!

After raising this little girl to life, Jesus walked on water, then climbed into a nearly capsizing boat crowded with His frightened Apostles. They were no doubt convinced they were about to die in a stormy sea.  What happened next?  And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded [Mk 6:51].  It is no surprise the Apostles were utterly astounded; He had just walked on wavy water, and His very presence calms a perilous storm!

Not only were His out-of-this-world miracles striking people with wonder and amazement, such astonishment even occurred when He taught the people: …all the crowd was astonished at his teaching [Mk 11:18].

It took a Roman soldier to identify why and how Jesus filled the people with supreme astonishment.  Observing Christ’s death upon the cross, the account explains:  And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” [Mk 15:39]  This is why and how Jesus fills people with amazement; this man who dies horribly is the eternal Son of God!

But Jesus does not stay dead.  A final seizure of amazement occurs as He is recognized to be alive from the grave.  Thus the record explains of the women who were the first witnesses of this unbelievable event: And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them [Mk 16:8].  They and all who saw the resurrected Christ were seized with trembling and astonishment.

After His ascension, the same kind of miracles continue to happen, however now on the plane of faith.  Instead of healing someone physically deaf and mute; instead of raising a dead body to life; instead of calming the Sea of Galilee; instead of marvelously teaching only the Jewish people…now something greater moves us with astonishment beyond measure.  For He sends His Spirit to release those held in Satan’s domain, to raise those spiritually dead, to give spiritual hearing and speaking to the spiritually deaf and mute, to be present with those spiritually tossed by the treacherous seas of this life as He calms their fears with His Word. He reaches out to all humanity and His teaching has such power that it still creates astonishment.  Even as His death and resurrection were amazing beyond measure, for in these works God’s Son conquered sin and death, so we are utterly astonished with the fact that in our Baptism He has united us with His very death and resurrection.

And He is not done.  Truly, “fixing” physical ailments will be the ultimate reality, for every bodily problem and pain will be healed when on the last day He speaks His astounding word and calls all the dead to life immortal!  We will then be astonished beyond measure…forever!