Sermons

Summary: Healing, miracle

LET”S LEAVE FOR TOWN (MARK 8:22-26)

When I arrived in Hong Kong, my wife Doris read a review of a unique 75-minutes exhibition titled “Dialogue in the Dark” and wanted to go, so off we went on a Saturday morning. The Hong Kong website has this promotion: “Our exhibition gives you an experience like no other. In this specially constructed pitch-black exhibition, visually impaired guides lead the sighted to ‘see’ the world in a unique and inspiration way!” Inside a blind man led us through the darkest places where the seeing was as good as blind. We were very careful to use our legs to figure out the course we were taking, the road we were treading and even the surface of the road as our guide, as promised, took us on a walk through the corners of Hong Kong, her roads, streets and alleys.

Later we were to place our hands on different fruits to feel and to guess the fruit we were touching, not that I want any physical contact at that point! Helpless visitors were encouraged to “feel the taste with all your senses and by heart other than vision” and to experience each of the environments and objects by its sounds, smells, textures, and tastes. It was miserable as nothing I guessed turned out right, so I was glad when it was over, but I remembered feeling, “How powerful is this blind guide as I was so helplessly dependent on him!”

The concept of the exhibition, according to the website, is role reversal, as the blind become "sighted" and while the seeing become blind and the purpose was for the public to understand what it's like for visually-impaired people to function on a daily basis and to change the public’s mindset on disability and diversity, and increase tolerance for “otherness.”

Jesus had met and ministered to quite a few blind men in the gospels, including six more renowned instances of the two blind men (Matt 9:27), the demon-possessed blind and dumb man (Matt 12:22), the two blind men by the road (Matt 20:30), the blind and the lame who looked for Jesus in the temple (Matt 21:14), the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22) and the man blind from birth (John 9:1). The account of the blind man in Mark’s gospel was full of surprises to me. First, it was not recorded in other synoptic gospels. Second, the healing was surprisingly done in two stages. Third, it was not done in town or publicly.

What kind of lives do those are physically-challenged live? How can we be backers and benefactors of the handicap? Why are people with disabilities more receptive to Jesus and the gospel?

Provide Unified Assistance

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat. A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?" The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."

What he had written was: "Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it." Both signs told people the boy was blind. While the first sign simply said the boy was blind, the second sign reminded others how fortunate they were and what they could see.

The synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke use a different verb for the same translation “bring” in English.

Matthew

Mark

Luke

Pros-phero 15x

Prosphero 2 x

Prosphero 4x

Phero 4x

Phero 15x

Phero 4x

Ago (lead) 5x

Ago (lead) 3x

Ago (lead) 13x

While Matthew used the compound verb “bring” verb (pros-phero) and Luke preferred the verb “lead” (ago), the simple, shorter and straightforward gospel of Mark selected “carry” (phero), as in Christopher, meaning “Christ carrier.” Of the three verbs, Mark’s version is more neutral than Matthew but more involved than Luke. There were quite a few instances of the blind meeting Christ, most of them positive, poignant and personal in their own way, but this was unusual, unique and uncharted. First of all, the people were unified. The people care for the blind man, enough to carry him to Jesus. The support was more than physical, but emotional, moral and psychological as well. No one was omitted, obliged or opposed. The city folks knew Jesus was in Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter (John 1:44) as they sprung to action. The Greek text did not say “SOME people brought him” but “THEY brought” him.”

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