Sunday, March 13, 2011

Astonished or Afraid? by Craig Luper

I was reading Mark 10 the other morning and verse 32 just stood out like a sore thumb. I read the rest of the chapter, but kept coming back to verse 32. Jesus was leading the disciples and a group of people toward Jerusalem, and this verse says “the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid.” In that one verse you have such a contrast, one group is astonished and the other is afraid.

The word astonished means – to strike with sudden and usually great wonder or surprise. Synonyms for astonished are amaze, surprise, astound, bowl over, dumbfound, flabbergast, floor, rock, shock, startle, stun. I think you get the idea.

The word afraid means – to be filled with fear or apprehension, or filled with concern or regret over an unwanted situation.

I think everyone of us is faced everyday with those two things as we follow Jesus. We can choose to be astonished or we can be afraid. We can be filled with wonder or surprise and embrace this journey called life or be afraid of the economy, the global warming, or just about anything. Both groups of people were following Jesus, but both had different feelings. What made one follow in amazement and the other in fear? I’ve been pondering this and I think the answer is in how we see Jesus.

Drawing by W.E. Hill, 1915 (public domain due to expired copyright).
It’s like the picture on the right. What do you see? Do you see an old woman or a beautiful young lady? It all depends on your perspective. It’s not that the disciples didn’t ever have fears, because we know they did. But in the end when it really mattered they saw Jesus for who he was, not for what they could get from him. When we only put our trust in the temporal or "rub our magic Jesus lamp" and hope everything will turn out like we want, I believe we’re like the crowd that walked in fear and was afraid of the day, afraid of people, afraid of LIFE! But when we keep our eyes on Jesus as the Lamb of God who is worthy to be praised, then we are filled with ASTONISHMENT! So which are you choosing today-- ASTONISHED OR AFRAID?

Craig Luper is the executive pastor at Crossroads Church in Concord, NC.   He enjoys all types of sports, going to movies with his wife, playing golf with his sons, and spending time with friends


  1. Amen to that! Thanks Craig - I enjoyed the article.

  2. Beautiful - Benson (Nairobi Kenya)


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