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Men Like Trees

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MEN LIKE TREES

SERMON OF THE WEEK #200804 - January 27, 2008

Mark tells us that one day, Jesus and the Apostles came unto Bethsaida, and

they bring to Him a blind man, and beseeched Him to touch him. Now Jesus had

been in Bethsaida many times, although no other visit to the city was

mentioned until this one. We know He had been there many times, and done

many miracles because in Matthew 11:20 Jesus said, "Woe unto thee,

Bethsaida, for if the mighty works that were done in thee had been done in

Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. It

shall be more tolerable for them in the Day of Judgment than for thee."

With all their advantages of learning from Jesus, Bethsaida was the worst

town in the world to go to Hell from, and the best town in the world to go

to Heaven from.

America today stands in the same judgment as Bethsaida. We have been blessed

by God with greater opportunities to evangelize the world than any nation in

history, and what a heavy judgment will fall upon this land in the judgment

as we see the efforts of a people gone mad in their efforts to remove every

reminder of the grace of God. It shall be more tolerable in the Day of

Judgment for some of the cities in the Middle East than for sports-crazed,

idol-worshipping America.

So they brought this blind man to Jesus with the request, "Touch him, Lord."

They were confident that Jesus could restore his sight by a touch. They had

no doubt heard how Jesus had gone into a house at nearby Capernaum, and

healed Peter's mother-in-law by touching her hand. And it was at Capernaum

that He had healed a leper with the touch of His hand. And even more

inspiring in the same area He had restored the sight of two blind men with

the touch of His hand. So there was no question with these people that Jesus

could heal this blind man with the touch of His hand. They had faith in the

Lord to heal, but they had to do something about it. They had an active

faith, and brought him to Jesus.

Many of us have faith the Lord can save from the uttermost members of our

family, or other friends, but is it an active faith? We pray about it, but

what have we done to bring it to pass?

So the Lord first took him by the hand, and led the blind man out of the

city. At Bethsaida they had not responded and, rather than work one more

miracle, and have them sneer, and say, "...any rabbi could have done as

well," He led him out of their city to heal him. When He led him out of the

city, He was leading him away from unbelief in the virgin birth, and He was

leading him away from those who denied the authority of His Word.

Jesus still leads us today, but He does not take us by the hand, as He did

the blind man of Bethsaida. While we may rejoice, and enjoy the sentimental

feeling about Jesus, as we sing "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on,

help me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn." But after we sing about

it, let us come back to reality. The Lord is no longer here in a physical

body taking us by the hand, and leading us. However, He still leads us just

as much as He led the blind man of Bethsaida. While He was here on earth He

could lead only one person at a time, but now through His divinely inspired

Word, He can lead us all as we sing "Lead me on through the night, lead me

on to the light: Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on."

So they came to Bethsaida; Bethsaida means, "The House of Fishers." House of

Fishers is an appropriate name for that village because it was the hometown

of at least six of the Apostles. In John 1:43, John tells us that Philip was

of Bethsaida of the city of Andrew and Peter, and it was there the Lord

called Philip when he said, "Follow Me," and Philip brought Nathanael to the

Lord. And since Luke tells us James and John were partners with Simon, which

would have been their hometown, it seems that six of the Apostles would

become fishers of men in the great ocean of humanity, when they received the

Great Commission.

It would also be appropriate if every congregation could be known as the

House of Fishers, because of the great number of preachers sent out to be

what Jesus called fishers of men. The crying need for the world today is for

more preachers of the Word. Remember, it was Jesus Himself who said, "Pray

the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers into His harvest." The

reason we have been on the radio for all these years is because we are

fishers of men, and radio seems to be a real good fishing hole.

And so it seems a strange coincidence that in the city known as the House of

Fishers, there were a great number of people who were spiritually blind, but

it was here some compassionate people had brought a blind man to Jesus with

the request that He touch him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand, and led

him out of the town.

Then Jesus spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon his eyes, and said,

"Seest thou ought?" He looked up and said that he saw men as trees walking.

After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and

he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Jesus spit on his eyes; this probably was to loosen his eyes stuck shut.

This served as a salve to loosen his eyelids; a miracle was not needed for

this part of the healing. Jesus does not perform useless miracles. When He

changed the water into wine, He did not waste a miracle on filling jars with

water. This was something they could do. When he raised Lazarus, He did not

work a useless miracle by rolling away the stone; this was something they

could do, and must do first, then came the miracle of resurrection.

He still does not do for us today what we can do for ourselves first. Many

times in church meetings people are asked if there are any prayer requests.

Some good folk will ask for prayer if someone has a rash, or ingrown

toenail, and not a word about prayer for people who are being tortured, and

put in prison for their faith.

This is the only miracle that the Lord worked in stages. He touched the man,

and he looked up, and saw men as trees walking. Then He touched him and he

saw clearly. Most of the time today the healing that is done by the Lord in

answer to our prayers is done the same way. We may be sick unto death, and

to everybody's amazement the sick person recovers. Generally the recovery is

by a gradual process.

Then think too, of how many ways the Lord works in our lives by stages. God

did not give the completed copy of the Word of God in the Garden of Eden to

Adam and Eve. It was not a leather-bound copy of the Bible that guided Adam.

Paul says in Hebrews chapter one that God spoke unto the fathers in divers

portions and in divers manners. It was a gradual revelation until Jesus came

and made His sacrifice and ascended to the right hand of the Father. Then

and only then the revelation of God was complete, and it be said, in 2nd

Timothy 3:15, "All scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for

doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good

work."

So when Jesus healed the blind man, he looked up and said he saw men as

trees walking. Evidently he had not been born blind because he knew what a

tree looked like. He saw men as trees walking. In other words at first he

had a distorted vision. There are millions of people today whose vision is

distorted, and they are never able to see things as they really are.

The application of salve to his eyes reminds us of what the Lord said to the

church at Laodicea in Revelation the third chapter. He said they were blind,

and needed to buy of Him eye salve that they might see. Jesus does have eye

salve, and it is for sale. It is somewhat expensive, and it will cost you

some of your time. The eye salve is the Word of God, and the more you apply

it to your eyes the better your vision will be. Let Jesus touch your eyes

again, and you will look up, and like the blind man of Bethsaida, you will

see all things clearly.

The man said he could see men as trees walking. This is the way the Devil

wants us to see ourselves, not as trees walking, but as gods walking. This

is what the Devil told Eve in the Garden of Eden at that debacle at the foot

of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve began to have a distorted

view of God. She thought she was god. For God doth know that in the day ye

eat thereof your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good

and evil. Again Paul addressed the same subject when he told the Romans in

chapter one, "Professing themselves to be wise they became fools and changed

the glory of the incorruptible God into an image of corruptible man.

Humanism began in the Garden of Eden and has surfaced again in these last

days when men think that they can make up their own rules. Our spiritual

guide today is, "What do the polls say?"

Take a look at God's view of man as found in Romans the third chapter.

Listen to God's description of the human rascal, "There is none that

understand; there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of

the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth

good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongue they

have used deceit. The poison of asp is under their lips. Whose mouth is full

of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction

and misery are in their ways; and the ways of peace they have not known.

There is no fear of God before their eyes." This is the way God describes

the human rascal. The icing on God's damnation cake is when He says a few

verses later, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Many

have a distorted view of the human race; the humanistic view sees the human

as god walking, but God sees him as a lost and damned-to-hell sinner to be

held responsible for his actions.

And now another distorted view that some may have is the distorted view of

the Lord Jesus Christ. Some people look up and see Jesus walking as a good

man; they see Him walking as a perfect man; they see Him walking as a

philosopher, but they don't even see any tree. The tree Peter talked about

when he said to the elders and the high priest in Acts 5:30, "The God of our

fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, hanging him on a tree."

To look at Jesus without the cross is a fatal view. This was the distorted

view of the Apostles when they first heard about the cross. Then Peter took

Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall

not be unto thee." The Devil did not want Jesus to go to the cross, and he

knew the Lord would not listen to him, so he said, "Peter, you tell Him."

This would not be the last time the Devil would speak to people through the

lips of a preacher. The greatest lies that are told today on this planet are

the ones that are told by preachers.

The thought of Jesus carrying a tree was unthinkable to Peter; this could

have no part in the program of Jesus coming into the world. The other

Apostles felt the same way, when Jesus said, "And they shall kill Him, and

the third day He shall be raised again." They were exceedingly sorry.

Later on, Peter saw all things clearly. In his first epistle he tells us,

"Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from

your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious

blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of

Christ." Hear him again as he declares, "Whom His own self bore our sins in

His own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto

righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." At first, Peter could not

see Jesus on the tree, and now he cannot see Him anywhere, but on the tree.

The preaching of the first gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost was a

message on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter's

vision had cleared up since that day at Caesarea Philippi when he said, "Be

it far from thee Lord this shall never be unto thee."

Saul of Tarsus who led in the slaying of Stephen and many other Christians

did not see Jesus on the tree. After his conversion his vision cleared up,

and he said, "He knew nothing, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified; God

forbid that I should glory save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ."

I read the footnotes in one of those popular study Bibles; and the footnote

on Acts 2:38 informs us that it should be written like this, And Peter said

unto them, "Repent for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift

of the Holy Spirit." It is sufficient rebuttal to say; if Peter had meant it

that way, he would have said it that way. It is also an interesting thing to

note that all of the major translations, both Protestant and Catholic,

translate Acts 2:38 the same way repentance and baptism for the remission of

sins or unto the remission of sin. Hundreds of world-class scholars, from

all denominations laid aside their personal beliefs, and translated it the

same way. Read it again in your version, and hopefully your vision will

improve, and you will get a better view of the Man on the Tree.

And now one more concluding thought on the man with the distorted vision.

Many today are not touched with the suffering of Jesus who gave His life for

them on the cross, and there is a reason for it. John tells us about it in

his first epistle when he says, "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself,

and the evil one toucheth him not." So who is touching you now, the Lord or

the Devil?

In Matthew 9 those two other blind men cried out to Jesus, "Lord, thou son

of David, have mercy on us." Jesus touched their eyes, and like the blind

man of Bethsaida they received their sight. Today may the eye salve of the

Word of God applied to your eyes through the preaching of the Word of God,

cause some of you to look up, and begin to see as through a glass darkly;

the Lord Jesus Christ, not walking as a tree, but hanging on the tree.

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