Summary: It almost seems like Jesus cannot heal this blind man. It takes Him 2 times to give this man back his sight. What's going on here and what can it tell us about our need for God's touch in our lives?
OPEN: How many of you spend time on Facebook? (At least half the congregation raised their hands).
And I have a number of friends on Facebook – 634 at last count – many of whom I barely know. But they are more than willing to share their thoughts with me.
Some time back one of my FB friends shared a picture with me that had this thought:
“Smoking weed doesn’t make me a bad person,
just like going to Church doesn’t make you a good person.”
Now, that offended me.
If they’d simply said “Smoking weed doesn’t make me a bad person” I’d have been ok with that I guess. But whoever had created that picture message felt compelled to pull God and His church into the argument… and that annoyed me.
And when I get annoyed I just have to speak up, so I posted this response:
Smoking weed doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
And going to church doesn’t mean you’re a good person.
And taking your car to the mechanic doesn’t mean you’ll get your car fixed.
And going to the hospital doesn’t mean you’ll be healed of what ails you.
BUT those are the places to go if those are the results you want.”
My point is this:
If I want certain things to happen in my life then there are certain places I need to be, places I need to go and things I need to do.
Now, I want you to hold that thought for a minute as we look at our text this morning.
Jesus has come to a town called Bethsaida. And while He’s there, there are some people bring their friend to Jesus to be healed of his blindness. Now, that’s not unusual, because Jesus healed all kinds of people during His ministry.
• He healed lepers
• And cripples
• And demoniacs
• And raised the dead.
• And of course He healed a bunch of people who’d been blind… just like this man.
There doesn't seem to be anything Jesus can't do!
But not this time.
This time it almost seems like Jesus can’t heal this man.
All through His ministry Jesus healed people… miraculously
He would heal them by merely saying they were healed (Mk 7:29, John 4:50)
Or He healed people by letting them touch Him (Mt. 9:20; 14:36)
Or He healed people by Him touching them (Mark 6:5)
The lame walked… the deaf heard… dumb spoke.
And ALL were healed immediately.
But not this time!
“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’
He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’” (Mark 8:23-24)
That’s not healed!
It’s close, but it’s not real impressive.
ILLUS: It’s kind of like going to the eye doctor and getting glasses that let you see “kind of good”. That’s ok, I suppose… but it’s not really what you were expecting. If you get glasses from the Optometrist you would expect to see perfectly… immediately.
But this guy didn’t see perfectly… immediately.
“Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:25)
It took Jesus TWO times to heal this guy!
Jesus never has to do that!!!
NOBODY has ever had to be touched TWICE by Jesus to be healed.
So why does this man need to be touched twice?
I mean, was Jesus off His game that day?
Did He get up on the wrong side of the bed?
Had He not had His morning coffee?
Or was there something else going on here?
Well consider these thoughts:
1st – before Jesus healed the man… He took him outside of town.
“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.” (Mark 8:23)
2nd – after Jesus healed the man, He told him NOT to return to Bethsaida
“Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t go into the village.’” (Mark 8:26)
What’s this all about?
Why heal the man OUTSIDE Bethsaida and then tell him not go back there?
Well, Bethsaida doesn’t have a very good reputation with Jesus. In Matthew 11:21 Jesus cries out: "…Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
Woe to Bethsaida?
What on earth was wrong with Bethsaida?
Well, we’re not told, but it’s apparent that they need to repent… and they’re not doing it.
And when Jesus did miracles in their town they haven't been impressed.
What they saw didn’t change their hearts.