And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief - Δυναμεις, miracles. So the word is used, Matthew 7:22; Matthew 11:20; Acts 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Galatians 3:5; Hebrews 2:4. The Septuagint translates אל נפלאות niphleoth el, the miraculous works of God, by δυναμιν κυριε .
Unbelief and contempt drive Christ out of the heart, as they did out of his own country. Faith seems to put the almighty power of God into the hands of men; whereas unbelief appears to tie up even the hands of the Almighty. A man, generally speaking, can do but little good among his relatives, because it is difficult for them to look with the eyes of faith upon one whom they have been accustomed to behold with the eyes of the flesh. - Quesnel.
Did not many mighty works - Miracles. This implies that he performed some miracles. Mark tells us what they were: “He laid his hands upon a few sick folk and healed them,” Mark 6:5.
Because of their unbelief - That is, it would have been useless to the great purposes of his mission to have worked miracles there. We are not to suppose that his power was limited by the belief or unbelief of people; but they were so “prejudiced,” so set against him, that they were not in a condition to “judge of evidence” and to be convinced. They would have charged it to derangement, or sorcery, or the agency of the devil. Compare John 10:20. It would have been of no use, therefore, in proving to them that he was from God, to have worked miracles. He did, therefore, only those things which were the proper work of benevolence, and which could not easily be charged on the devil. He gave “sufficient” proof of his mission, and left them in their chosen unbelief without excuse. It is also true, in spiritual things, that the unbelief of a people prevents the influences of the Holy Spirit from being sent down to bless them. God requires faith. He hears only the prayers of faith. And when there is little true belief, and prayer is cold and formal, there the people sleep in spiritual death and are unblessed.
Prophecy tells us that we are near the close of time. Intellectual power, natural abilities, supposed excellent judgment, will not prepare the youth to become missionaries for God. No one who is seeking an education for the work and service of God will be made more complete in Jesus Christ by receiving the supposed finishing touch at—in either literary or medical lines. Many have been unfitted to do missionary work by attending such schools. They have dishonored God by leaving Him on one side and accepting man as their helper. “Them that honor Me I will honor,” God declares, “and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” 1 Samuel 2:30.... CT 374.1
God's word should be received as the foundation and the finisher of our faith. It is to be received with the understanding and with the whole heart; it is life and is to be incorporated into our very existence. Thus received, the word of God will humble man at the footstool of mercy and separate him from every corrupting influence. CT 374.2
“In the year that King Uzziah died,” says Isaiah, “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” Beholding this grand and glorious representation, the prophet discerned his own imperfections, and those of the people with whom he dwelt. “Woe is me!” he cried, “for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1-5. Oh, how many who are engaged in this work of responsibility need to behold God as did Isaiah; for in the presence of His glory and majesty self will sink into nothingness.—Special Testimonies On Education, 165-170; written from Melbourne, Australia, February 10, 1894, to the teachers in Battle Creek College. CT 374.3Read in context »
In the divine arrangement God does nothing without the cooperation of man. He compels no man's will. That must be given to the Lord completely, else the Lord is not able to accomplish His divine work that He would do through the human agency. Jesus declared that in a certain place He could not do many mighty works among the people because of their unbelief. He wanted to do for them in that place just what He knew that they needed to have done, but He could not because unbelief barred the way. The potter cannot mold and fashion unto honor that which has never been placed in his hands. The Christian life is one of daily surrender, submission, and continual overcoming, gaining fresh victories every day. This is the growing up into Christ, fashioning the life into the divine Model.... TMK 55.4Read in context »