Astonished Beyond Measure

And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

—Mark 7:37

“They” being folks in the Decapolis region who brought a man to Jesus. The man was deaf and had a speech impediment. He was deaf and mute. They “begged” Jesus to lay his hand on the man. He did and he was healed. This led to their astonishment.

They were “astonished beyond measure” as the ESV translates it. The Message puts it this way, “beside themselves in excitement.”

All three words in the ESV are translated from one word in the original language. It has the idea of a response that exceeds what the senses produce. It is sensory overload. It is amazement on steroids.

We might ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how astonished were they?” The answer would be beyond 10. When I weigh packages on my 3 lbs max scale, anything that is 3+ or greater registers with gibberish symbols. It is beyond measure on that scale. The only thing I know is that it is more than 3.

Yet we tire of folks who use this hyperbole without significant meaning. People are always giving 110%. This overuse has made 110% seem like less than maximum effort. Now people give 150%, 200% or 1000%.

We use extreme words so often that we have to coin new nonsensical words. No longer impressed by something that is gigantic or enormous, we have to describe a large item as “ginormous”.

But Mark records this response under inspiration of the Spirit. They genuinely are astonished beyond measure. That means that they were not merely astonished to the max, they were astonished beyond what would register on the astonishment measuring scale.

Would this level of astonishment describe your wonder at who God is and what he does? If not, you are missing out.