The Savior while in mortality did many mighty works. He raised the dead, healed all kinds of diseases, restored sight to the blind, cured withered limbs, and cast out devils. However, in his home town of Nazareth is was unable to do mighty works. Here we learn important principles of unbelief.
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
And he marvelled because of their unbelief… Mark 6:5 – 6
Mark explains why unbelief was prevalent in Nazareth. Many there remembered him and said:
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. Mark 6:3
God is “limited” and “challenged” by unbelief. He wants to bestow greater blessings on his followers, but many won’t have it.
The prophet Joseph Smith saw unbelief at work among the early Mormon converts.
“I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions.” History of the Church, 6:184–85
Church members are taught to diligently seek the Holy Ghost, instead far too many seek diligently for the things of this world, an act of unbelief.
“…your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of me, your Maker…and you have not given heed unto my Spirit…” D&C 30:2
We certainly need to have our minds on the things of this earth. The difficulty comes when we focus so intently on the things of the earth we fail to give heed to the Spirit.
Not giving heed to the Spirit is less of an offense than denying the Spirit, but in either case repentance is needed. Both of these offenses decrease faith thereby limiting the Lord’s ability to extend blessing to us.
The people of Nazareth limited the works the Savior did among them because of unbelief. How many reading this post feel that they have limited the blessings Heavenly Father has for them because of unbelief?
How many suffer health problems unnecessarily due to unbelief, not only the lack of faith of the ones who are sick, but the lack of faith among those who exercise their faith and priesthood in behalf of the sick?
How many have not obtained guidance from the Holy Ghost because of unbelief? How many Bishop’s, Stake Presidents, even General Authorities, could do more mighty works if they enjoyed greater faith?
Acts of Unbelief
Many people in Nazareth exercised their unbelief because they thought of Jesus as a carpenter. What are some of the things we do that are acts of unbelief?
I’ll finish by listing a few things that I’m familiar with and invite you to make your own list:
1. Sustaining those called to lead with our hands, but not our heart
2. Treating lightly the Book of Mormon (and other scriptures)
3. Praying without real intent
4. Failing to repent of our favorite sins
5. Being more active in the church than the gospel
6. Coming to the Savior without a broken heart