Saturday, February 7, 2009

Can You See Anything?

Jeremiah 31:15-22; Mark 8:22-28 / Isaiah 44:1-8

I. Jesus Heals the Blind

A. Inability to see and failure to see are both massive problems; each is a metaphor illustrating the other. “And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.” (Mark 8:22) Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?” (Mark 8:18)

B. Healing the blind man is one of many miracles which the people of the region saw and ignored; all reality glorifies God except for those too blind in heart and mind to see what God is doing. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Matthew 11:21)

C. This hurting person was only one of many people whom Jesus blessed; where Jesus is lifted up, life becomes better for those who turn to Him. “And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.” (Mark 6:55)

D. Healing the blind is one of the prophesied marks of the Messiah; changed lives have a persuasive power no jihad can match. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:5-6)

E. God’s grace is focused but not stingy; the Savior is the help of the helpless and the consolation of the disconsolate. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5)

II. Grace Acts in God’s Time

A. Jesus acted for the benefit of this sufferer, not to bring attention to Himself or to promote His own cultural campaign. “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.” (Mark 8:23)

B. Saul, the persecutor of believers, had to be stricken blind and led away by hand before he also could be healed and transformed into Paul the evangelist of the Gentiles. “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (Acts 9:8)

C. People do not see until God opens eyes. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:18)

D. Healing began partially; growing in grace over time is normal for believers. “And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. (Mark 8:24) “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)

E. God will not stop till He finishes what He starts; healing the blind man is evidence for the perseverance for the saints. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.” (Isaiah 32:3) “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:17-18)

III. God Finishes What He Starts

A. Jesus kept working on the sufferer until the man saw clearly. “After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” (Mark 8:25)

B. Just as revelation is progressive, so is grace. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)

C. The good gifts of God are specific, not general; Universalism has a certain charm for the fallen mind, but it does not have Biblical support. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (Matthew 13:12)

D. Confidence in God is fundamental to progress in the gospel and the full Christian life; the man trusted Jesus enough to follow him out of town in hope Jesus would finish what He had begun. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6) “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

E. Can you see anything? Eyes healed by Jesus see eternity in the marvelous light of grace. “And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.” (Mark 8:26) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)

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