Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Ultimate Understatement

And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well." (Mark 7:37)

Someone once said, "A discerning eye needs only a hint; and an understatement leaves the imagination free to build its own elaborations.” The first followers of Jesus had that discerning eye, and bit by bit they slowly realized they were in the presence of a truly extraordinary man. This led to some interesting understatements.

In his Gospel, Mark builds the case very deliberately. First he tells us, "Everyone was amazed at his teaching"(ch.1:22). A few chapters later he says, "they all marveled at His words"(ch.5:20). And then once again Mark adds that "many hearing Him were astonished, saying, 'Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!'(ch.6:2).

Amazed, marveling, and astonished -- doesn't that pretty much describe how you feel about Jesus? Yeah, me too! Indeed, all who are followers of Jesus today can equally attest to our own increasing astonishment over His boundless ability to do all things well.

Like Mark of old, our testimony in today's world is, "He has done all things well!" Talk about an understatement that leaves our imagination free to build its own elaborations -- there you have it!

The best example of one such elaboration comes from the Wuest New Testament. The translator puts this spin on Mark's verse: "And they were completely flabbergasted, and that in a superabundant degree which itself was augmented by the addition of yet more astonishment, saying, He has done all things well!"

Now that is the ultimate understatement!

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