Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.
So 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 on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking."
Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
Then He sent him away to his house, saying, "Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town."
A few days ago, I listened to Ellel Ministries ‘Let’s Talk’ podcast in which the lines from Mark 8 came up in connection with Andy and Cath Taylor’s topic, which was ‘Out of Apathy’. I had never seen this connection made in that way and I felt led to look at these verses, headed ‘A blind man healed at Bethsaida’.
Looking at the way this passage is phrased, I noticed that the blind man did not approach Jesus of his own accord, but was taken before our Lord by believing friends. This is the only passage that I can think of where the healing was not complete when Jesus responded to the cry. The point is that the cry was not from the blind man himself. We always doubt the enthusiasms and convictions of those around us. We like to discover the source for ourselves.
In my own case, I can testify that my coming to know the Holy Spirit was not an instant conversion, but a slow growing to understanding. It was not a doubting of Christ, but of myself. A feeling that I would not measure up. It took me quite a while to realise that I did not have to pass an entrance exam. It was seeing through a glass, darkly instead of immediately appreciating the light from heaven.
Too often we take the word of friends or family on trust and we find disappointment, because our perspective is not the same as theirs. When we are approached by Jesus with His amazing promises — the gifts of faith and love — we can easily question such riches. Is that doubt? I suspect that we can feel it is more a case of faith is for others but that I am undeserving. Faith itself is a gift from God; friends can only offer their glimpse of heaven.
What this story reveals is that Jesus knows when we do not see clearly — when we see men like trees, walking — and He touches us again and makes us look up to the heavens until we see clearly and unambiguously. We are restored to a condition of unconditional connection to Christ Jesus. His is indeed an amazing grace. Only then can we ask, seek and take the step to knock on His door — and He is the door.
MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand year
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
JOHN NEWTON (1772)
AMAZING GRACE/HE IS LORD — Steph Macleod with Celtic Worship & Friends
PRAYER requires DESIRE
A GREAT MANY people do not pray because they do not feel any sense of need.
The sign that the Holy Spirit is in us is that we realise, not that we are full, but that we are empty. There is a sense of absolute need. We come across people who try us, circumstances that are difficult, conditions that are perplexing, and all these things awaken a dumb sense of need, which is a sign that the Holy Spirit is there.
[from ‘If You Shall Ask’ by Oswald Chambers]
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MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS…
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART