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I Can See Clearly Now

 

 


"And they *came to Bethsaida. And they *brought a blind man to Jesus and *implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."

 
Good Morning my beloved,
 
We welcome you to worship in the name of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a privilege is to come together with you as we continue our study in the Gospel of Mark. It's exciting to see God's Word making a difference in the lives of people all over the world. To God be the glory! If God has been working in your life through Jesus Christ, we'd love to hear from you. 
 
I believe the reason so many reject the Truth, is it makes them more than a little uncomfortable. All that true, all that is Light, is useless if a person is unable perceive it. They can hear the words but darkness conceals it. Scripture frequently uses the analogy of blindness to describe those who are unable to perceive the Light. Because Light reveals; darkness conceals. Only God can open a sinners eyes, that's why the Gospel is the best news the world has ever seen.
 
In recent years, we have witnessed a decline in true Christianity in the Christian culture. This new Christianity is at best, weak and compromising. The result is a blindness that is running rampant in the church today, proclaiming a Jesus based upon our own sinful preferences that clearly contradicts the Jesus of the Bible, preventing many from seeing Jesus for who He truly is. This is clear evidence that Satan has been working through his human agents to subtly change the biblical message, secretly introducing destructive heresies, designed to make the message more palpable, to accommodate the sinner. That's why knowing the Truth is so critical, and following false teaching is so dangerous. In John 16, Jesus promises "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth." Humanly speaking, there is nothing we can do to shed our blindness, it is not only difficult, it is impossible. If our eyes are ever to be opened to the Truth, it has to come from God. Thankfully, God is a Savior by nature, in His loving kindness, He leads us to repentance, sparing wretched sinners from the due penalty of their sin. This is the good news we bring to the world, that God, through Christ, can completely forgive the sinners and welcome them into His kingdom forever.
 
However, because God is Just, unrepentant sinners will face eternal damnation for their wickedness. You would be hard put to find anywhere in Scripture, that God reconciles unrepentant sinners to Himself, forgives their sin sin and allows them to continue in the sin from which they've been forgiven. God is so merciful, He allows sinners to live on borrowed time until He cannot bear it any longer.

Let us pray
 
Heavenly Father,
 
Father, thank You for Your Word, we are grateful that Your Word makes everything clear to those who have eyes to see. Lord, I pray that by Your grace, You would shatter the darkness, remove the scales that blinds so many from believing the Truth, even today, before the blindness becomes permanent. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to flood the darkness of this world under the influences of Satan with the Light of Your Word. Make me faithful to proclaim Your Word, the Truth which saves and sanctifies sinners and let it reach everywhere there's famine of understanding with the power and clarity. Lord, may people hear and believe and be saved and be obedient. All for Your glory.
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Amen


Today's Message: I Can See Clearly Now

Open your Bible to the eighth chapter of Mark’s gospel, chapter 8, verses 22 to 26. Follow along with me as I read, if you would, to set the text in our minds. Let's prepare our hearts for God's Word has to say to us today. Mark 8:22-26. I love how the message of the Gospel always remains the same but God uses different methods to reach different people. Jesus performed thousands of miracles, many of which were recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, however, this miracle is unique in the fact it is one of two miracles found only in the Gospel of Mark. You may recall the other miracle was in chapter 7, where the one who Jesus healed was a deaf mute. And, this is the only miracle in which Jesus uses a two-step process to open the eyes of a blind man.
 
It's interesting that there are some similarities in these two accounts that the other Gospel writers do not record. In both instances, Jesus took them aside from the crowds, isolates them and spitting on them, He touched them and again, gave them orders not to tell anyone, which He did frequently. Now, we’re at the end of His public ministry in Galilee. After this, He goes to Caesarea Philippi, a Gentile territory, performing one miracle there, then circles back through Galilee one last time for the purpose of teaching His disciples so there is no public ministry.

"And they *came to Bethsaida. And they *brought a blind man to Jesus and *implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."
 
Let's look at verse 22, "And they *came to Bethsaida." Let's stop there, Bethsaida is a village on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee, near the mouth of the upper Jordan River. Bethsaida is the area where Peter, Andrew and Philip grew up, so somehow word got out that He was there, And even though Bethsaida is considered to be part of Galilee, He's really moving away from the center of Galilee. We aren’t told why He was in Bethsaida, we do know He wanted to privately teach His disciples, after the conflict with Pharisees, so they were with Him. "And they *brought a blind man to Jesus." They may have been some friends or family, "and *implored Him to touch him," which tells us they obviously knew had the power to heal him, it is near where Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000 men plus women and children. The word "brought" implies that it took them some effort, similar to what the four friends did for the paralyzed man when they removed part of the roof to lower him down to Jesus. By the way, bringing people to Jesus is something that we’re all called to do. These accounts explain just how important faithful friends are. Is there someone that you can you think of that needs you to bring to them Jesus? Knowing Jesus healed by touch, they implored Him to touch him. Touching is personal. He took Peter's mother-in-law by the hand, He touch the leper who fell on his knees before Him and the woman with the issue of blood, convinced that if she touched the fringe of His cloak, she would be made well. Jesus often touched the untouchable, didn't He?

Verse 23, "Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" Realizing the blind need to be led, Jesus makes physical contact with him and brought him out of the village for privacy. Jesus could have easily healed him without touching him, divine power has no need to resort to the physical. The sense of touch for a blind person is elevated, when you touch them you are communicating warmth and tenderness. Again, this miracle is unique in the fact it is the only miracle in which Jesus asks the healed person a question. It's amazing how much our life change when we spend time alone with Jesus, we won’t come if the Father doesn’t call us out of the crowds. It's no accident you're here today, God brought you here on purpose to make sure you have alone time with Him, because you matter to Him. Everything He does is intentional, deliberate and purposeful, even when we're unable to see what He's doing. 
 
Saliva, a complex fluid, composed mostly of water, and a small amount of proteins, electrolytes, and other low molecular components. In Jewish tradition, the spittle of the first-born son of a father was believed to have medicinal healing power. Interestingly enough, saliva is the first stage in the process of wound healing to facilitate hemostasis or changing blood from a liquid to a gel, which controls the bleeding. In each of the three healing incidents Jesus used spit, He was communicating His intention to heal, a physical sign that they would soon be supernaturally cured. Contrary to what many commentators have suggested, Jesus was not adverse to following Jewish tradition, as it did not render the Word of God of no effect.
 
Verse 24, "And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Can you imagine what it must have been like for this man to go from total darkness and to start seeing movement through his previously deadened optic nerves? The verb "anablepó," from ana which means upward and blepó, means to recover sight. He looked upward and regained his sight, his unfocused vision was not able to distinguish men from the trees. It’s interesting this man knew what trees looked like. By the way, this is the only miracle in the four gospels where Jesus heals in two touches.
 
Verse 25, "Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly." Jesus laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently, meaning to see accurately, comprehending the spiritual meaning behind the physical sight. It's the same verb Jesus used in Matthew 7:5, when He said "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." The verb "apokathístēmi," translated as restored, meaning to give back what existed before, may indicate the man was not born blind. We can't be dogmatic because there isn't anything in Scripture to tell us why this man was blind. But now he has perfect vision, because the word for clearly means brightly, radiantly, resplendent, in a far-shining manner. Unlike modern day healers, every healing Jesus did was instantaneous, and to absolute perfection. 
 
Isaiah prophesied in chapter 35:5, says "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped." Every healing was so that people would know that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Why this miracle was done in two steps, we know it wasn't the lack of power; perhaps He healed him spiritually before He healed him physically. It's ok if we don’t know all the answers, that's the beauty of faith, we don't need to. We get to trust in His sovereignty!
 
That brings us to verse 26, "And He sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village." We've seen Jesus tell people not to say anything before, in fact, many times. As I've stated before, one reason is He didn't want to escalate the conflict with the corrupt religious leaders who want Him dead. And, because being a miracle healer isn't the full message, is it? He is the Risen Lord, isn't He? The message isn't complete complete until the cross and the resurrection. But still, there’s more than that, it was a miracle to confirm judgment. Jesus telling him not to even enter the village of Bethsaida is a judgment on the inhabitants because they would not repent when they had the opportunity, even though they had a high exposure to the many miracles He did there. Jesus had rejected them because they wouldn’t receive Him. This miracle was also to teach the disciples a spiritual lesson, that comes on the heels of Jesus saying in verse 18, He said "Having eyes, do you not see?" and in verse 21, "Do you not yet understand?" which leads to Peter's confession, "You are the Christ." Jesus is opening their "blind" eyes to the Truth of who He is. We'll look at that next time. 
 
In Closing..
 
While it's true God's people need to understand grace and compassion, they also need to understand the terrifying judgment that will fall upon those who do not believe the Gospel at the great white throne judgment. Ignorance is no excuse. Romans 1:20-21, says "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
 
There comes a point when God will judicially judge those who have hardened their hearts against His revealed Truth, by confirming them in their unbelief. We are all born spiritually blind, but no one has to die that way. It’s time for you to be honest about your own spiritual condition before it's too late. The man in our text today was honest with Jesus when he couldn’t see clearly, I pray that you will do the same.
 

May it be so..


And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

 
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