Summary: Jesus' healing of the blind man in Mark 8 illustrates four points: 1) Some people just want to come out of the darkness. 2) Our ministry can sometimes only lift the darkness. 3) The religious expectations of others can be harmful. 4) There are times when
Seeing is a strange thing. An infant can see a john deer tractor and not benefit from it. A farmer can see a jar of smashed carrots and not be drawn to it. A doctor can see blurry images on a glass slide and be excited about what it tells him. A preacher can see three words in Greek and be filled with joy for months.
Seeing is more that having eyes to see, but enjoining the physical vision with the proper emotional parts, intelligent parts, and experiential parts to gain the value of the sight. Sometimes we can have eyes and cannot see.
Let's begin our text from Mark 8:22 and drop a few comments along the way.
Mark 8:22 "And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him."
The importance of a text in scripture is always found in the context. This is a rule in Bible study, not just for preachers, but it is important for every Christian. The context of this passage is particularly interesting.
Jesus fed 4000 with a few fish and loaves, the second time he did such this type of miracle. The Pharisees, just watching this, asked Jesus for a sign that He was from God. Jesus said, "No sign will be given to this generation."
Obviously, the Pharisees did not know who Jesus was. They were living in darkness. Blind.
The disciples then got into a boat to go to a different region. Someone noticed that they only brought one loaf of bread for the whole gang. This obviously was an issue, since that appeared to be not enough. Jesus said, "Didn't I feed 5000 with five loaves? How many baskets did we pick up when everyone was fed?"
They answered Him, "Twelve."
Jesus added, "And did we not just feed this 4000 with seven loaves? How many baskets of leftovers did we pick up?"
They replied, "Five".
All Jesus could say was, "You guys just don't get it, do you?" In other words, the disciples yet to understand who Jesus really was. In other words, the Pharisees were blind and could not see anything. The disciples saw, but not clearly.
So when the group arrived at their destiny, someone brought Jesus a blind man. What a great time for a lesson! They begged for Jesus to touch him, and He did.
Mark 8:23-26 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?" 24 And he looked up and said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village." (Prayer)
This man's friends had asked Jesus to touch the man. Jesus touched him and healing was not found in this touch. He led the man by the hand out of the village. Once outside the city limits, Jesus probably spit into His own palm and applied it to the man's eyes. That, or He spit directly into the man's eyes.
Then He asked him, "Do you see anything?"
"I can see, but the men look like trees walking around."
Illus. My wife Laura tells a story about when, as a young girl, she got her first pair of glasses. She looked at the trees and was amazed. They didn't look like green cotton balls on brown and gray posts. She could actually see individual leaves from a distance away.
This man saw men, but couldn't make out much detail. The darkness was lifted. He could see but he was still legally blind. Was he healed? Yes, he could see, but no, what he saw was inaccurate.
So Jesus then touched his eyes and the man could see perfectly. Jesus tells him, "Don't go back to this town, but go directly to your house."
There are some lessons we can learn from this true story of our Savior.
1. Some people just want to come out of the darkness.
Radio preacher Martin Lloyd Jones described these people by saying, “They seem to know enough about Christianity to spoil their enjoyment of the world, and yet they do not know enough to feel happy about themselves... they see, and yet they do not see”.
Howard Hendricks of DTS -- “Millions of Christians live in a sentimental haze of vague piety, with soft organ music trembling in the lovely light from stained-glass windows. Their religion is a pleasant thing of emotional quiver, divorced from the intellect, divorced from the will, and demanding little except lip service to a few harmless platitudes. I suspect that Satan has called off his attempt to convert people to agnosticism. After all, if a person travels far enough away from Christianity, he or she is always in danger of seeing it in perspective and deciding that it is true. It is much safer, from Satan’s point of view, to vaccinate a person with a mild case of Christianity so as to protect him from the real disease.”