SCRIPTURE22 When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” 24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”
I think it was Charles Spurgeon who said, “A preacher who insist that everything he preaches is original is not worth hearing.” This is not my sermon outline. I got it from an evangelist out of Birmingham, Alabama. He saved it in a Revival service [November 4, 2013]. I was moved and fascinated by the message. I carried it home with me and I slept on it. I woke up about 4:00 am with it on my mind and I decided to write down the parts that I remember and to share a few additional insights that came to me as he was preaching. The message comes from the story in Mark 8 of Jesus healing the blind man. The message is built around three words: the first is…
We begin with verse 22…When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. This is not the thrust of the message but I do mention it in passing. I say this because I call into question the motives of the people who brought the blind man to Jesus. I think they were sign-seekers or miracle-mongers. These folks may have witnessed Jesus feeding the 5,000 just a few weeks prior because the miracle of the loaves happened very near Bethsaida. These people were wanting to see Jesus do a miracle. In spite of the fact that I question their motives, I see some things in them that are good for the church, such as…
- Compassion–they did indeed help the blind man. Whether their motives were pure or not, they did bring him to the right person. Most of us have the ability to feel pity on others who are less fortunate. If we knew of a hungry person in our vicinity, we would not rest until we shared some of our food with them. Americans as a whole are compassionate people. We especially respond to tragedy. Most of us can remember September 11, 2001. American donated of their free will 1.4 billion dollars to the victims of 9/11. We have compassion but is that enough? We will come back to this later.
- Evangelism–They brought the man to Jesus. Wow! They do the work of an evangelist by bringing the blind man to Jesus. I do wish that our people, the members of our churches would become passionate about bringing people to Jesus, amen! I see absolutely nothing wrong with bringing a person to Jesus.
- Intercession–they begged Jesus to heal the blind man. There is no greater work than the work of intercession. They went to Jesus in behalf of the man’s need.
Now this is where it really gets interesting. As far as I know, this is the only two-step miracle that Jesus performed. First Jesus takes the blind man and leads him out of the village. Then He spits in the man’s eyes. Wow, what a way to do a miracle! Jesus spit in the man’s face. Then Jesus ask, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around and then said, “I see people but I cannot see them clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Evidently this man had been able to see at sometime in his life because he knew immediately what trees and people looked like. He probably had some degenerative eye disease which had over a period of time rendered him blind. THEN, and it is a huge then, Jesus placed His hands on the man eyes again and his eyes were opened and he could see everything clearly.” This is what Dr. Adrian Rogers called a MIRACLE WITH A MESSAGE. Here is the message: some people just want Jesus to do a little bit, they really don’t want the complete package. A lot of folks just want to know that when they die, they will go to heaven. They do realize that only Jesus can get them to heaven but the truth is–they do not want the ABUNDANT life, they just want eternal life. They want to make sure they are checked in for their final destination but they don’t want anything to do with discipleship. They want some Jesus but not the full package. This man could have left that day with a fuzzy vision. He could have been excited about the fact that he could see a little. Perhaps that was his goal but Jesus wanted him to see clearly. Here is the question: Do you want what you want or do you want what Jesus wants you to have. We have a lot of folks that can see a little but they don’t see clearly. They came to Jesus for a miracle and got one but they left too soon. They didn’t hang out with Jesus until they were complete. Jesus wants you to have eternal life but He also wants you to have the Abundant Life.
Jesus rarely does the same thing twice so I am not surprised that this miracle is wrapped in uniqueness but I don’t think Jesus goal was to make this miracle unique. The people who brought the man to Jesus were probably miracle-mongers and so Jesus refuses to heal the man in their presence. He takes the man and leads him out of the village. I don’t know where they went but I think it was away from this original crowd. We do know that it was not an isolated place because the first thing the man saw was people but Jesus did lead him out of the village and there must be a reason. Jesus was not a performer. When He stood before Herod, He refused to say a word. Herod tried to get Him to do a miracle and Jesus would not budge. Jesus was not a magician, He was not a performer. He did not come to entertain people, He came to seek and save the lost. Obviously, this group had seen Him do miracles and they knew that He could do them; yet they had missed the point. They missed the message in the miracle and now they just want to see another miracle for their entertainment and Jesus refuses by taking the man aside.
Folks, the MIRACLE-MONGERS are everywhere. They get all excited about the sensation and supernatural. I have known people who drove hundreds of miles to see the face of the virgin Mary in a rock or a piece of wood but they would drive across town to share Jesus with a lost person. Some churches build their programs around the sensational: they have one promotion after another. Dr. Vance Havner use to tell about a church that he said had “Gone Hollywood” and by that he meant, they were into entertaining. People like to be entertained. The lure of the sensational is one of the three great temptations. Dr. Havner told about the church that had the talking horse. They put the horse on the stage and ask him how many disciples there were and he stomped 12 times. How many commandments and he stomped 10 times. The a smart alic in the back hollowed, “How many hypocrites are in this church?” and Dr. Havner said the old horse went into a dance. Jesus did come to entertain. There is nothing entertaining about the CROSS.
Beware of the Village. Listen to what Jesus says about Bethsaida in Matthews gospel…[Matthew 11] Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. 21 “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. 22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.” It is true that Jesus greatest following came from Galilee but it is also true that the great majority of the Jews rejected Jesus. Jesus made Capernaum His headquarters and Bethsadia was a short distance from His headquarters so obviously, He spent more time in Korazin and Bethsaida because both were in the same vicinity but as a whole, the people in these villages rejected Jesus. Note what Jesus says to the healed man, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.” Wow, what a word of exhortation. Why would Jesus tell him not to return to the village? Was it because the village was a culture of unbelief? Would they have not questioned the man’s healing? We all need affirmation but no one needs it more than a new believer. New converts should be surrounded by other believers. There is probably more, much more than our need for affirmation. When Jesus saves us, He gives us direction and instruction. Jesus may have been saying, “Don’t go back to your old way of life.” A third thing that Jesus may have been communicating in telling the man not to return to the village that day was that he didn’t need the village. Someone has said “When Jesus is all you have, you will discover that He is all you need.” We don’t need Jesus plus the affirmation of the village. We are never going to get the support of the village.
One of the things we learn as we grow older is that the world cannot satisfy our needs. Some people believe that a spouse can met all their needs but this isn’t true either. The only person who can complete your life is Jesus. I don’t think Jesus was prohibiting the man from going into the village forever but he didn’t need to that route on his way home. He needed some time to get to know Christ and grow in his faith. Eventually, he will be able to confront the unbelief of the village just as Jesus did. I have always cautioned young people about the numbers. One person, no matter how strong, cannot influence a crowd unless they are unusually strong in their faith and leadership ability. When young people start hanging out with the village, they tend to do what the village is doing. I think Jesus gave us some great advice when He said, “Don’t go back to the village”. Judas went back to the village and you see how they treated him. We need forgiveness. We need character. We need a purpose for living and a reason for dying and only Jesus can give us these things, not the village. Don’t go to the village.