When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son?… So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them…Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matt 13:53-58)
What?! Jesus, the king of the universe,of heaven and earth didn’t do many miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief? How can that be? An understanding of quantum physics might shed some light on this phenomenon – namely, that reality alters based on observation. Researchers discovered that particles behave differently when they are being observed. This is demonstrated in the double slit experiment.
The double slit experiment proves that matter (which consists of particles and waves whichcreated!) behaves differently when it is being observed. That means that the observer’s presence literally changes the outcome of the experiment. Could it be that Jesus did not perform many miracles in Nazareth because the observers were not willing to see it? That seems to be the case and was why Jesus cautioned the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees.
Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?–but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matt 16:6-12)
The leaven of the Pharisees was a refusal to believe despite lots of evidence to believe. The Pharisees were just like their ancestors in the wilderness of Sinai who had seen miracle after miracle as God lead them out of Egypt and yet they still refused to believe. The Pharisees had seen and or heard of numerous miracles that Jesus had performed and yet they were not willing to believe. As a result, they did not see.
Again and again, we see Jesus saying that a person’s faith (their perception or belief) is what heals them. That is, what the person observes or perceives (believes) to be reality actually becomes their reality.
Matt 9:22-29 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.”… 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” NKJV
Matt 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great [is] your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. NKJV
Matt 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. NKJV
Matt 21:21-22 21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” NKJV
Thus, perhaps Jesus did not perform many miracles in Nazareth because the observers didn’t believe (perceive) that he would or could do anything. They didn’t see because they didn’t believe.
Still, shouldn’t Jesus be able to do miracles regardless of their mental or spiritual condition? The answer appears to lie in the fact that God created us in His image and in His likeness. God spoke the worlds into existence and all therein, but when He made man, He made us with a little bit of the divine nature in us. (2Pet 1:4) It appears that because we are in God’s image and likeness, God actually needs our cooperation to do positive things in our lives. Don’t misunderstand, God will ultimately accomplish His will regardless of our doings. Nevertheless, when He wants to do a good work in our life, He needs our cooperation for blessing to occur. We cooperate by believing and believing is proven through obedience as demonstrated in the book of Hebrews:
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (Heb 3:18, 19, 4:2)
Think about how Peter was walking on the water with great success. He could do so because he believed, without doubting that he could actually do it. Once he began to doubt in what he was doing, he lost it and immediately began to sink and then Jesus chastised him with “you of little faith,” and then questioned him, “why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:31).
Could it be that our thoughts and perceptions (beliefs) about the world and our situation in some way determines the outcome? Could we really move mountains if we didn’t doubt? However, that must be the case based on the Word and even on observed science? If we believe without doubting, amazing things are possible.
Chances are that many of us suffer from a bad case of the leaven of the Pharisees: We read all about what God/Jesus has and we believe it intellectually but we do not believe practically, that is, with our actions. We say that is what He did back then, but not today. That is what He did for them, but not for me. Join me in prayer that we could be cured of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Nazareans. Let’s believe and then we will see! Let’s renew our minds because the Kingdom of God is far closer and more accessible than any of us has ever imagined!