I Stand Amazed

Occasionally, persons unknown join our online meetings and then disappear half way through. Perhaps it wasn’t’ to their taste. Or maybe they were just curious or nosey, two sensations I myself have experienced during this strange year. I sometimes pop into others’ meetings, sniff around, and then depart. During one such foray, the pastor kept using the word ‘amazing’. These are the three occasions he used the word, before I vacated the meeting. I imagine it was employed dozens of times thereafter.

“It’s amazing to see you all.”

“Ok. I’ve got an amazing Bible reading for you this morning.”

“Jesus is the most amazing person you’ll ever meet.”

Although the third useage is certainly true, and will especially be the case when we enter heaven, the other occasions he used it was merely as a synonym for ‘good’. A friend of mine regularly posts on social media about her ‘amazing’ husband. I suspect she means she is pleased with him rather than he confounds and shocks her each morning. Maybe it is amazing he sticks with a wife in so great a need of vocabulary. The Online Etymology Dictionary states of amaze:

"overwhelm or confound with sudden surprise or wonder," 1580s, back-formation from Middle English amased "stunned, dazed, bewildered," (late 14c.), earlier "stupefied, irrational, foolish" (c. 1200), from Old English amasod

And of amazed:

early 15c., "stupefactive;" 1590s, "dreadful;" present-participle adjective from amaze. Sense of "wonderful" is recorded from 1704.

The OUP claims the word comes from the Old English verb amasian: “confuse, surprise.” Use in the Bible typically varies from one translation to another, but sticking with the AV and the NKJV, 'amazement' is recorded in the follow contacts:

-Observing God’s judgement

-Christ’s authority and power

-The gospel’s preaching

At a recent Bible study, we read of the disciples in Mark 10 being both amazed and fearful on account of Jesus resolutely walking ahead of them towards His arrest and death in Jerusalem. Allowing for every meaning of the word amazing, save its crass over-use as a way of saying ‘pleasing’, Christ is the only truly deserving recipient of the adjective. He is dazzlingly wonderful, awesomely formidable and far beyond our comprehension to either predict or understand. It is amazing that such a One should peer down on our filthy planet and see a people He loves and redeems. 

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene
And I wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned, unclean.

How marvellous, how wonderful
And my song shall ever be.
How marvellous, how wonderful
Is my Saviour’s love for me.

-Charles Gabriel