Summary: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Have you ever seen a star being born? Here we see a picture from the James Webb Space Telescope, of just such an event. From the STSI: “NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is celebrating the first anniversary of its start of science operations with this image of a star-forming region in the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex.
Its proximity to Earth at 390 light-years allows Webb to capture it in exquisite detail. Reddish jets bursting from young stars light up molecular hydrogen where they impact interstellar gas. A slightly older and more massive star, S1, is blasting out ultraviolet radiation and carving out a glowing cave in the lower portion of the image.”
The birth of a star, the beginning of a burning light in the heavens, maybe that’s a bit like what happens when a dead sinner lost in their evil ways turn toward Christ and cries out for salvation, for hope, and for a new life. That person at that moment is transformed, from a being of darkness and sorrow, to a being of light, hope, and victory. They are born a second time of the Holy Spirit. They begin a whole new life. They burst to life into great brightness and begin a lifelong journey of glowing ever more brightly with the power of God within.
It's an amazing thing.
We’re going to be looking at four sections of scripture today from Mark chapter 8, and I think we’re going to see the centerpiece of Mark’s gospel, the halfway point, the key moment when the question is answered: “Who is Jesus, really?”
Mark is sixteen chapters, and at chapter eight we find the middle point, the moment that depicts the entire point. It answers the question, "What is this really all about?"
All the healings, the miracles, the masses of crowds, the parables, the angry people, the disciples, what does it all mean?
So today, four sections, the first section is a healing that takes place of a blind man. And I think you'll see it fits right into the concept of spiritual blindness and seeing the truth.
It says this, verses 22-26: They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 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?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 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. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”
On it’s face, you have a recorded event in history, when Jesus healed a blind man who was then able to see from that day onward. I can’t imagine what a moment that must be in someone’s life, to go from blind to being able to see.
But on a deeper level, this is a moment that is reminding all of us, and those reading the gospel of Mark throughout history, that without Christ we are blind. As humans in our sin, we are blind.
There was a time in my life when I had no interest in knowing God. And slowly but surely as people prayed for me, and I began to encounter the message, slowly but surely I began to grope in the dark toward God.
“Can you see anything?” Jesus asked the man.
What about you? Can you see anything? Do you see who Jesus really is? Do you see God in each moment of your life? When you look around you do you see a world made by God? A universe designed by God? And people made in God’s image, with great value?
Or are you still blind? Or perhaps you’re like the blind man, at first he only sees a blurry picture. Some of us as we begin to approach God, or even after, at first, we only see a blurry picture, but as we draw nearer it becomes more and more clear.
Next, we see a conversation that takes place between Jesus and his disciples.
In verses 27-30: Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.”
Peter is Jesus’ right hand man, the first guy he trusts and the one he appoints to lead his disciples later.