“Smoking weed doesn’t make me a bad person, just like going to Church doesn’t make you a good person.”
If they’d simply said “Smoking weed doesn’t make me a bad person” I’d have been ok with that I guess. But whoever had created that picture message felt compelled to pull God and His church into the argument… and that annoyed me.
Smoking weed doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
And going to church doesn’t mean you’re a good person.
And taking your car to the mechanic doesn’t mean you’ll get your car fixed.
And going to the hospital doesn’t mean you’ll be healed of what ails you.
BUT those are the places to go if those are the results you want.”
My point is this:
If I want certain things to happen in my life then there are certain places I need to be, places I need to go and things I need to do.
Jesus has come to a town called Bethsaida. And while He’s there, there are some people bring their friend to Jesus to be healed of his blindness. Now, that’s not unusual, because Jesus healed all kinds of people during His ministry.
- He healed lepers
- And cripples
- And demoniacs
- And raised the dead.
- And of course He healed a bunch of people who’d been blind… just like this man.
There doesn’t seem to be anything Jesus can’t do!
But not this time.
This time it almost seems like Jesus can’t heal this man.
All through His ministry Jesus healed people… miraculously
He would heal them by merely saying they were healed (Mk 7:29, John 4:50)
Or He healed people by letting them touch Him (Mt. 9:20; 14:36)
Or He healed people by Him touching them (Mark 6:5)
The lame walked… the deaf heard… dumb spoke.
And ALL were healed immediately.
But not this time!
“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?’
He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’” (Mark 8:23-24)
That’s not healed!
It’s close, but it’s not real impressive.
ILLUS: It’s kind of like going to the eye doctor and getting glasses that let you see “kind of good”. That’s ok, I suppose… but it’s not really what you were expecting. If you get glasses from the Optometrist you would expect to see perfectly… immediately.
But this guy didn’t see perfectly… immediately.
“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.” (Mark 8:25)
It took Jesus TWO times to heal this guy!
Jesus never has to do that!!!
NOBODY has ever had to be touched TWICE by Jesus to be healed.
So why does this man need to be touched twice?
I mean, was Jesus off His game that day?
Did He get up on the wrong side of the bed?
Had He not had His morning coffee?
Or was there something else going on here?
Well consider these thoughts:
1st – before Jesus healed the man…
He took him outside of town.
“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.” (Mark 8:23)
2nd – after Jesus healed the man,
He told him NOT to return to Bethsaida
“Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t go into the village.’” (Mark 8:26)
What’s this all about?
Why heal the man OUTSIDE Bethsaida and then tell him not go back there?
Well, Bethsaida doesn’t have a very good reputation with Jesus. In Matthew 11:21 Jesus cries out: “…Woe to you, 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.”
Woe to Bethsaida?
What on earth was wrong with Bethsaida?
Well, we’re not told, but it’s apparent that they need to repent… and they’re not doing it.
And when Jesus did miracles in their town they haven’t been impressed.
What they saw didn’t change their hearts.
Now we find Jesus taking a blind man out of Bethsaida to heal him and tells him NOT to go back into the village.
Remember my saying earlier that “If I want certain things to happen in my life then there are certain places I need to be, certain places I need to go? Well, by the same token – If I want certain things to happen in my life then there are certain places I DON’T want to be.
If this man was going to be healed by Jesus he needed to be taken OUT of Bethsaida.
And he needed to STAY OUT of Bethsaida.
Bethsaida was not a good place to be healed because it was not a place of faith.
If you want to grow in your faith there are certain places you shouldn’t go.
If you want Jesus to do something powerful in your life there are places you shouldn’t be.
Ordinarily you’d think that would be places like bars and wild parties.
But there are “nice” places you shouldn’t be either.
- Places like certain bodies of higher learning.
Secular colleges and universities.
I’ve been to one of those and I saw first-hand the extreme efforts some professors made to destroy the faith of their Christian students. But why would they do that? Because these teachers viewed Christianity as a wall that stood against all they wanted to teach. As long as that wall stood they could not accomplish their ultimate indoctrination of the student.
- Another place that can be difficult for Christians is in their own families.
Certain families are filled with people who don’t want to hear about Christ. Filled with people who do everything they can to insult and undermine your faith. They don’t want to hear about Christ because it would make them feel guilty and sinful… and they would prefer not to be bothered.
- And sometimes that place you shouldn’t be can even be a church.
You see, that was the problem for the blind man in our story today.
He’d been in Bethsaida way too long.
And he’d been around the citizens of that town way too long
He’d allowed himself to be influenced by their lack of faith and their lack of morality. So in order to do anything in that man’s life… Jesus had to get him out of Bethsaida and keep him out.
Let me repeat: If you want Jesus to do anything powerful in your life there are certain places and certain people you need to get away from.
The blind man grew in his faith.
Now personally, I don’t think this man had any faith to begin with.
I don’t think it was his idea to come to Jesus.
Mark 8:22 tells us that “some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him.”
His friends brought him to Jesus
There’s nothing in this story that says it was his idea.
I think he’s only there because his friends brought him with them.
And I think that’s part of the reason it took two times for Jesus to heal him.
Matthew 13:58 tells us “(Jesus) did not do many mighty works (in Nazareth), because of their unbelief.”
You see, Jesus can’t work in our lives if we do not have faith.
But over and over again in the Gospels Jesus tells people that it was their faith that healed them (Matthew 9:22; Mark 10:52; Luke 17:19).
Jesus could do things in people’s lives IF they believed.
But if they didn’t… Jesus couldn’t do anything for them.
That’s why Hebrews 11:6 tells us “…without faith it is impossible to please him”
But if I’m right, this man doesn’t have any faith of his own.
If I’m right this man is there because his friends brought him.
He’s not there because HE believes Jesus can heal him.
But then Jesus spits on his eyes and puts His hands on him… and asks: “What do you see?”
Jesus knows what the answer will be but he wants the man to put it into words.
And the man replies: “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.”
He could see for the first time in years.
It was like a light bulb went on inside the man’s heart.
And at that moment, I believe the man realized Jesus COULD heal him.
And once he realized that Jesus could do heal him THEN he had the faith for Jesus to heal him completely.
mental Sickness….drugs…blinded eyes…possession
- We have armed security
- In the event of a shooter get down
- Crawl to the nearest exit
- Once outside meet at the oak