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November 22, 2020 12:01 am
Why did it take two touches from Jesus' hand for a blind man to be healed? Continuing his exposition of the gospel of Mark, today R.C. Sproul contemplates the message Christ conveyed to His disciples by bringing this man from dimness to clarity of sight.
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Are you able to confess that Jesus is the Christ. If you ever were downcast. If you ever cry under God, why me in the midst of affliction here these words. Blessed are you, for you have been able to see the most priceless treasure there is in this world and if God never gives you another blessing you would have no reason to do anything else but crawl over glass to proclaim his glory and his mercy to be able to acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God is a gift from God himself. What gift it is. We return to Dr. RC Sproul's verse by verse theories from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus ministry of miraculous healing brought crowds out to see but today in Mark chapter 8 Jesus performs a miracle twice just to make a point after Jesus gave his warning to the disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees after he rebuked them for their lack of perception where they had failed to understand Jesus even as the rulers of the Jews had failed to understand his identity.
Then we see that Jesus left and went to Beth Saida and while he comes now into this town.
The people bring this blind man to him and they asked Jesus to touch him became the best i.e. then they brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him and so he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. That's something else that's unusual in almost every case were Jesus heal somebody he heals them openly and publicly and not isolated from the multitude of witnesses in this case they say Jesus touched the man obviously they're asking for a healing touch, and instead he takes the blind man by the and the purpose of taking the man by the hand. Here is not to heal him at the moment but to take him away from his friends would brought in the Jesus so that all geniuses tenderly can lead the blind man out of the town and into a private place elsewhere.
Jesus warns about the situation that exists if the blind lead the blind.
They both fall in the ditch. But here is the one whose visual perception was the most acute of any person that ever walked on the face of the earth taking the hand of a blind man and leaving him for his healing.
Melissa look back at the text and when he had spit on his eyes and put his hands on him. He asked him if he saw anything Mark doesn't tell us that he spit on his hands and then touched his eyes.
He says they spit on as I don't know what to make of that. But in any case, Jesus spits on the man and then he lays his hands upon him. Let's stop there for second, why did Jesus do that if we look through the whole scope of Scripture, particularly in the Old Testament we see that there's a certain significance attached to the ritual of the laying on of hands. We see it now when we ordain men to the ministry into offices in the church we have the laying on of hands. In the New Testament.
According to James, when elders would go to the home of those who were acutely ill. They would minister to them by the laying on their and but in the Old Testament, the primary usage of the laying on of hands was really for three things in the first instance the laying on of hands was accomplished when people would lay hands on sacrifices that would be offered to God and that was a ritual that signified consecration setting aside something to a sacred or special or holy usage in the second instance the laying on of hands.
In this case, not the animals to people was done with the consecration of the Levitical priests.
Priests of the Old Testament were ordained by the laying on of hands again signifying consecration making something special and the third use of the laying on of hands was simply to communicate a blessing as Melchizedek. Blessed Abraham in the Old Testament, but almost nowhere in the Old Testament.
Do you see the laying on of hands associated with healing. But Jesus gives it now that association in the notice. We think for example of Haman, the leper of the general of the Army of Syria who was afflicted with leprosy and he sought after healing from the hands of the prophet Elisha and so he sent a messenger to Elisha begging that Elisha would minister to him touch him but he may be cleansed from his leprosy and so Elisha said come on, send them over and so one name and the leper came to the place of Elisha Elisha didn't even go outside to greet him.
Instead he sent his messenger to the leper and he said you go wash in the pool seven times in you'll be cleaning what was Haman's reaction. While that's great I can't wait to get washed.
I came a whole.
This way for that profit to touch me personally and he sends his messenger out and tells me to go take a bath.
They didn't like that one bit until he finally got over his anger and bays and was clean of his leprosy. So Elisha did it without the sacred touch but in this case. The plea is for Jesus to touch this blind man and he accedes to that request. He spits on the man's eyes and then he touches his eyes when he does something else that's really unusual in this account. In most cases when Jesus heal somebody he commands them in the affirmative thing do this or do that. This is the only time we see Jesus when he touched her somebody for healing asked them how they're doing, but can you see anything else. Read he asked him if he saw anything. By the way, in this short passage. There are nine different nuance verbs with respect to vision that are used by Mark and we only have one in the English language. But anyway, he asked him if he saw anything.
The man looked up and he said I see men like trees, walking with does that indicated first thing it tells us is the man wasn't born blind. They wouldn't even be able to make distinction between human beings and trees and that sort of thing. They obviously lost his sight.
Somewhere along the way but now when Jesus is what you see you soon will I see something. Things are completely dark to me.
I can see people out there and I can really act this out right now until I put my glass of barrier as I saw people's trees sitting here just a second ago. Anyway, said I can see something Lord I can discern that there are people out there, but that they look to me like trees moving about so obviously the healing that Jesus had imparted to this man was not yet complete. The man had vision but he was still myopic. His vision was dim. His vision was blurred and he couldn't really make out the difference between people and trees so Jesus put his hands on his eyes again and made him look up and he was restored and saw everyone clearly again. The force of that sentence is this. The geniuses now had reached this man to such a degree that when he looked up the verb signifies that he could see clearly from existence from a great distance. His vision now was with out blur. It was impeccable. He is feeling was total and it was complete. Then he sent them away to his house thing, neither go into the town or tell anyone in the town.
Why did it take to touches from the master sing to heal this man. I don't know the Bible doesn't tell us I can guess I can speculate my guess would be this the Jesus intentionally healed this man in stages because remember if we go back to the discussion just before this with his disciples in the boat.
Remember what Jesus said do you not yet perceive nor understand is your heart still hardened having eyes, do you not see having ears, do you not hear so that the immediate context for this account of this particular healing of somebody who is gradually moved from darkness to dimness to clarity Jesus in the healing this man I believe is giving an object lesson to his own disciples. They were not in total darkness as the pagans were there.
I said be held many of the marvelous things of Christ. They beheld things that only Angels would seek to be able to view and yet Jesus had just rebuked them and saying don't you get it yet you still not perceive the truth don't you see anything. They had some understanding, but not much. For all intents and purposes when they look the Jesus if they would've said who do you say that he is the disciples may have said something like I look at Jesus. I see a mighty oak walking around but I don't really understand the full measure of who use a notice that this account is right before the watershed moment of recognition by the disciples of the identity of Jesus. The whole book of Mark is divided in two parts.
The first half devotes itself to the account of Jesus's Galilean ministry in and around the Sea of Galilee that we been looking at from the very beginning of our study and now it moves to Caesarea Philippi, which is even further north than the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee and don't confuse Caesarea Philippi with Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast Caesarea Philippi 2530 miles north of the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It's at the base of Mount Herman. It was a smaller Caesarea that Philip again established to honor Caesar Augustus, and so Caesar's name in Philip's name or attached to it.
Caesarea Philippi, to Matthew 16 that we get the more full account of what takes place there but in that watershed moment Jesus interrogates his disciples and changing the pattern of rabbi and student were normally the students or the disciples are constantly asking questions of the rabbi here the rabbi interrogates his students and he says to them in this pop quiz. What's the scuttlebutt where people saying who do men say that I am in Matthews for the Son of Man and who do they think that I am, so the disciples report the Jesus while we have our ear to the ground. We hear the gossip we hear the back fence communications. Some people think you're John the Baptist because the fame of John the Baptist is gone throughout the land in most of these people up there in Galilee never seen John the Baptist, but I've heard about them. So a lot of them think that your John the Baptist because you are a prophet like he was. Others think you're Elijah. Why would they think that. Remember, at the very end of the Old Testament in the last book of prophecy in the book of Malachi, God makes the promise that before the day of the Lord is going to come before the Messiah will come.
Elijah must return. Elijah is the one who didn't die in the Old Testament but was taken up in the chariot of fire into heaven. So Jesus is getting so much attention to buzzing, whispering Mrs. Elijah who was to come, or one of the prophets. This is if Jesus just completely dismisses them insist okay okay that's fine. But now the big question is the big question for you. You heard now. The life and work of this man Jesus through a chapters of the gospel. What you think Jesus look at is the substance find who do you say that I am he may have framed the question this way, do you see yet who I am.
Have you finally perceived my identity where my just a dim, blurred walking tree to you who you say that I am Peter answered for the whole group.
You are the Christ, the fuller version reads this way though art the Christ, the son of the living God.
Then Jesus responded to him on that occasion and said blessed art thou, Simon bar Jonah flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven.
Peter said, thou art Christos your messy you are, the promised anointed one, of God that came by way of prophecy from the very beginning. The third chapter of Genesis all the way through the Old Testament were God reiterated his promise to his people that his anointed son would come to save his people from their sins. What you think. Peterson we know who you are you the Christ. You are Messiah. You are the son of the living God. Now you would think that without confession, Jesus would've turned to them and sets forth tamely after all this time your hearts of melted your ears have been opened your hearing my word and now you've got it. 11.
What follows in Mark's record and what followed in Matthews record is that even though this majestic confession of faith that come forth from the lips of Simon Peter. They still didn't get it clearly, the confession was true and it was an act of real faith when they made this confession and this Matthew expands on Jesus said to Peter pronounces benediction.
Blessed are you normally stop there. Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah. When you stand up publicly and join the church.
This church or any other church and make your public profession of faith are you declaring toward your friends to your neighbors. I believe the Jesus is the Messiah. I believe he is the Christ. I believe that he is the son of the living God. If you believe that the same benediction.
But Jesus pronounced upon Simon Peter is your benediction.
He would say blessed are you, because this is not something you learned in kindergarten. This is not something you learn from the newspaper from the secular media flesh and blood doesn't reveal this kind of information because if you believe in your heart that he is the Christ. You are blessed above all people, because God has allowed you to see his son, don't ever forget that if you ever are downcast. You're jealous of somebody else's status or possessions.
If you ever crying to God, why me in the midst of affliction, hear these words. Blessed are you, for you have been able to see the most priceless treasure there is in this world. You have been able to recognize the pearl of great price and if God never gives you another blessing for the rest of your days on this world, you would have no reason to do anything else but crawl over glassed to proclaim his glory and his mercy to the whole world because the greatest blessing. A human being can never receive is in that blessing to know him. Remember also that Matthew adds the response of Jesus to Simon. Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah flesh and blood is not revealed this to the thou art Pat troughs it gives him a new name. The rock on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against. Not that the spears of hell will not be launched against it. Not that the fury of hell will not be aimed against it, but the gates of hell, which are defensive mechanisms in the ancient world. The church as an offense of mission to tear down strongholds to tear down the gates of hell, by the power of the gospel. But Jesus on the road to Caesarea Philippi, said he was going to build a church not physically on Peter as some have supposed.
But on this truth that Peter confesses the very foundation upon which the Church of Christ is established is that public confession thou art Christ the son of the living God. And when the church loses her confidence of the identity of Jesus. It doesn't hurt merely the external trappings of the church, but it disrupts the church and its very foundation. That's why we were established as a people of God on this confession.
Jesus is the Christ the son of the living Peter's confession was inspired supernaturally. He couldn't have known Jesus was the Christ. Without God revealing it to him. If you are a believer in Christ today and can make that same confession. What an incredible blessing. Dr. RC scroll is taken as to chapter 8 of Mark's gospel today on Renewing Your Mind and if you been following along each Sunday. Let me suggest that you request our resource offer. It's a great study companion as we continue the series would like to send you Dr. RC Sproul's commentary on Mark's gospel like all of his commentaries, so this went on Mark is easy to read and so very helpful, so contact us today with a donation of any amount to look at her ministries and will be glad to send it to you. This is an online offer only. So go to Renewing Your Mind.word to make your request again this Renewing Your Mind.word like something will turn once again to Mark chapter 8 to learn what it means to truly take up our cross and follow Jesus.
I hope you'll join us next Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind