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Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida

Portrait of Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The sight of a blind man is gradually restored by Jesus. A miracle meant to convey the disciples lack of discernment about Jesus.

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Introduction

Surrounding context explains what is going on in our primary text today. The feeding of the four thousand, the Pharisee’s testing Jesus, Jesus’ warning about the yeast of the Pharisee’s and Herod, and the proclamation by Peter.
Matthew 15:29 -16:12 also records the these event with the exception of the healing we will read about today. Also, Jesus’ warning is different. In Matthew, Jesus warns about the yeast of the Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s, not Pharisee’s and Herod as recorded in Mark 8: 14-21.
The reason why I wanted to point this out is to show each writers gospel has a specific purpose in revealing who this Jesus of Nazareth really is. Mark’s gospel is to demonstrate Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. In his gospel, there is an element of secrecy throughout. Jesus often tells those he heals, “do not tell anyone.” We also see that those who are close to him are often rebuked for being dull in their thinking or discernment. Understanding these things, we are able to interpret the true meaning of the healing of a blind man whom Jesus had to touch twice for his sight to be truly restored.
Mark 8:22–26 NIV
22 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.”

The First Touch

verse 22- Bethsaida is the hometown of disciples Peter, Andrew, and Philip. As with some of the other healings, the people begged (Greek transliteration: parakaleo which means to call to oneself. Its as if calling for help) Jesus.
verse 23- after leading the blind man out, Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him. Although spit, in many cases, considered unclean, it is also known to be used in medicinal, magical, and religious cures. Then he asks the man, “Do you see anything?” This is an uncommon occurence because when Jesus heals, it normally immediate.
verse 24- The man reported seeing people and they look like trees walking around. This suggest the man has sight prior to this encounter. It also indicates that the man now can see but not clearly.

The Second Touch

verse 25- Upon Jesus’ second touch the man could see clearly. His sight was completely restored, and there is no doubt about it as in Mark’s statement, “he saw everything clearly.” The imperfect tense of the verb “saw” indicates this is a new situation. One where from this point on, he will be able to see everything clearly.
verse 26- Jesus tells the man to go home but “Do not go back into the village.” Once again, this goes along with the motif of secrecy in Mark’s gospel.

Application

1. Call upon the name of the LORD: There is so much to say about blindness. There are so many who are living in spiritual blindness. The word of God tell us things like the unbeliever loves darkness rather than the light because they do not want their evil deeds exposed (John 3:18-21) and the god of this age has blinded their minds so they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Co 4:4). But there is a remedy to this situation and a redeemer. . .King Jesus! Romans 10:12-13 states, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same LORD is LORD of all and richly blesses all who call on him. ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’” And, they cannot call on the one who they believe in or believe in the one they have not heard unless there is someone who preaches the good news.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see clearly: Many of us who professed to be Christians are not seeing clearly. Just as the blind man saw but could not clearly discern, we too have a habit of seeing but not willing to clearly discern. Why do you turn your windshield wipers on when you are driving in the rain? We do it to clearly see where we are going and that we are going the right way. Why don’t we turn our wipers on when it comes to our walk with Christ? Our inability to truly discern is an issue between Spirit and flesh. We have to stop listening to what our flesh wants and stop making attempts to please ourselves in every way, and start walking in step with the Spirit, who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). We need to test the doctrine we hear for biblical soundness, not according to how it makes us feel. We need to seek God first, above and beyond all other things. Seeing clearly is about knowing who Jesus truly is and following after Him. Who better to rely upon than the Holy Spirit who bears testimony of Christ Jesus our LORD.
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