Summary: Jesus is dealing with blindness. He deals with both the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees and the disciples as well as the physical blindness of a man from Bethsaida.
The Gospel of Mark #20 – “Open the Eyes of My Heart”
1. VIDEO – “Field of Dreams” They really can’t see it…
2. There are some people in this world that cannot see for looking. The evidence could be as clear as the nose on their face, but they cannot see it, because they simply refuse to see it.
3. ILL – I love Archie Bunker, but I hate it when people use words wrong. I have actually taken people to the dictionary & showed them definitions, but they refuse to see it!
4. In our text today, we run into some people who couldn’t see Jesus for who He really was.
5. Mark 8:1-26 (Read)
6. How many of you have every made a cake before? I have not!!
7. PIC – Red Velvet cake…You need many parts (ingredients) to make the whole cake! You need - Vegetable oil, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, buttermilk, eggs, red food coloring, white distilled vinegar, vanilla extract, Cream Cheese Frosting, & Crushed pecans, for garnish. Put it together & you have heaven on a plate!! (OT – Manna?)
8. In this section of Mark’s gospel, we find several different parts that make one whole.
a. Jesus feeding of the 4,000 – vs. 1-10
b. The Pharisees question Jesus & ask for a sign from heaven – vs. 11-13
c. Jesus teaching of the yeast of the Pharisees & Herod – vs. 14-21
d. The healing of a blind man at Bethsaida – vs. 22-26
9. All of these parts are joined by one thread – Jesus is dealing with blindness. He deals with both the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees and the disciples as well as the physical blindness of a man from Bethsaida.
I. How Jesus Handled Spiritual Blindness – Vs. 1-21
What is spiritual blindness? I could offer many definitions, but for our purposes it is simply “not being able to see who Jesus really is.” 2 groups of spiritually blind people in our text –
A. The Blindness of the Pharisees – vs. 11-13
1. Their blindness was willful – they chose not to see who Jesus is.
a. Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
b. However, everywhere He went He also dealt with the opposition of the Pharisees who refused to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
c. Jesus called them “blind leaders of the blind” in Matt 15:14.
d. ILL – Have you heard about the elderly woman on a busy street corner who was confused & hesitant to cross because of the heavy traffic? Finally a gentleman came up to her & asked if he could cross the street with her. Gratefully she took his arm, but grew progressively more alarmed as he zigzagged randomly across the street, to the blare of horns & screech of locked brakes. Finally on the opposite curb, she said angrily, “You almost got us killed! You walk like you're blind.” “I am,” he replied. “That's why I asked if I could cross with you.”
e. Unfortunately, these were the ones making the “spiritual” decisions for the nation of Israel – no wonder they missed it!
2. Jesus rebuked them and refused them.
a. They came to him as the “spiritual” police squad & demanded that He perform some type of sign from heaven to prove Himself (they actually wanted to trap Him into being found a liar & false prophet – Duet. 13 & 18).
b. Jesus refused their demand because He knew that even this kind of miracle would not convince them. They had already decided not to believe!
c. Hearts can become so hard that even the most convincing facts & demonstrations will not change them (Ex - Pharaoh “hardened his heart”…).
d. Sometimes, we are so stubborn that we fail to see God’s plan for us. God could “write it in the sky, erase it & write it again, & yet we would still not believe!”
e. Heb. 3:7-8 “7So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,”
B. The Blindness of the disciples – vs. 1-10, 14-21
1. Their blindness was going away – they could not see fully who Jesus is: yet!
a. The feeding of the 4,000 is a separate miracle from the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus references this in vs. 19 (read).
b. There are similarities – both miracles included huge crowds with little food, both involved the use of bread & fish, both involved Jesus showing compassion on the crowd & miraculously providing for their needs, in both miracles the crowds were entirely satisfied & a large amount of food was left over.