A Miracle with a Message

In Mark 8:22-26 Jesus heals a blind man in a very unusual way. Jesus spits on the man’s eyes and the vision is partially restored. Then Jesus puts the His hands on the man’s eyes and his vision is totally restored. I know the first couple of times I read this passage I was beyond confused because I could not figure out why Jesus did not restore the man’s vision all at once. After all, He is Jesus He could easily do this.

I have heard all sorts of explanations for this ranging from the man did not have enough faith at first to Jesus had already said “Woe to you Bethsaida” because they did not repent. The former has to do with our faith being the power and the latter has to do with Jesus withholding blessing an individual because of corporate failure. Both in my humble opinion fall short because neither treats Scripture properly and both place the emphases on the individual passage and not in context.

If we read the whole of Mark 8 we can see that before this Jesus rebukes the disciples because they did not understand His words about the yeast of the Pharisees and then later Jesus rebukes Peter because he tried to Jesus (never a good idea). Yet right in the middle is this miracle. It is a miracle with a message. The message is clearly given before the miracle in 8:21 where Jesus says, “How is it you do not understand?” In short, the message is that you can walk with God and miss the point.

The point is not to go to church, tithe, dress better, do better, get stuff, or correct people. No, the point is to love God with all your heart soul and mind and love others as yourself. That is the point of walking with God. First, we walk with God and learn to be like Him, loving what He loves and giving ourselves wholly to Him and then because of that we love others and concern ourselves with their well-being.

That is why Jesus did not heal the man right off the bat. It was not because He could not or did not want to. He was going to heal the man we can tell because He did. The point was to demonstrate to the disciples that they are seeing part of the image but not the whole thing. They had some vision but not the whole picture. They were not trusting Jesus for who He is but instead still had their focus on the bread which is really to say on their immediate needs. Jesus wants us to be concerned with more than our immediate need He wants us to give Him our full attention and devotion. He wants us to walk with Him and trust in Him.

Just a thought,

Mike

Thy word is a head light unto my tires, and a light unto the road

When you were a kid did your parents ever tell you to go tell someone something?  I have four younger brothers so I was always telling them what mom said.  But I was smart enough to only go as far as what mom said.  I do not think it ever occurred to me to go beyond that and add a little extra (I easily could have though).  I could have added a little something for myself like “mom said clean your room and make Mike a sandwich.” or even just a little more for emphasis like “mom said clean your room or you are grounded.”  That sounds like something my mom would say but I knew that if mom said tell your brother to clean his room then I needed to only tell him to clean his room.

It is the same thing with God.  Sometimes God tells us something very specific and we are only to go as far as what He says, and not a little extra for ourselves or for emphasis.  Sometimes the word is an actual word like “tell Tom I love him” or “tell Gina she is precious to me.” But sometimes (and more often than not) it is a directional word like give the church $10,000 and say nothing of it, or drop off groceries to the neighbor, but it could be a million different things.  Whatever it may be we are to do it faithfully and only to the extent of the direction given.

There is a story in Mark chapter 11 that helps us with this.  It is known as the Triumphal Entry and before Jesus enters He tells two of His disciples to go into town and get a young colt and tells them that if anyone asks just say “The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”  They had direction and words.  What I find interesting and great is that they followed the direction and spoke the words with no more or no less than what was given.  They could have thought that they needed to add a little more to it, maybe a little payment or something to grease the wheels.  But they did not do that.  No instead they did as Jesus said to do.

It echos another story John 2 where Jesus’s mother tells the servants to “do whatever He tells you.”  Again there is this theme building where Jesus gives commands or direction and we are to follow it to the letter.  There is a lot that can and has been said about that right there but I want to just focus on only going as far as the direction.  If God says take 2 steps then take two normal standard steps.  Do not take small or large steps but just take two standard steps.  We can easily want to and think we need to do a little more or add a little something to it when God speaks but His words are true and accurate.  Some of the biggest trouble I have ever gotten myself in is because I have done a little more or a little less than I was directed to.

Psalms 119:105 is a great verses to memorize.  I have it memorized in the King James for some odd reason “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  No we do not walk around with lamps or even flashlights often but most of us drive so we could think of it like this “Thy word is a head light unto my tires, and a light unto the road.”

When you drive your car you only drive as far as the headlights will let you.  Yes they are always present before but you cannot out drive them.  If they stop working you stop driving because you cannot see.  You also drive a little slower in unfamiliar territory because you have to only rely on your lights.  You have not been there so you cannot go too fast.  You need the lights to illuminate the road you do not know.  Even on roads you do know you need the headlights to make sure you are staying in your lane.

That is the Word of God and a word from God.  You should only go as far as directed.  Not faster than needed and not slower than needed just two standard steps.  This is also why daily Bible reading, prayer, and worship is not only healthy but necessary.  It is light shining on our path that we walk every day.

My wife and I are working with a church plant right now and there are so many paths and directions we can take.  So many ideas and thoughts but the ones that are important are the ones God wants us to take.  We need to wait for a word from Him and then take that step just as He directs.  Not a little more and not a little less but just two standard steps.

Just a thought,

Mike