This was preached at Shalom Church on 28 Nov 2021.
The worship services starts at the 15th min mark while the the sermon starts at the 36.28th min. The sermon text is available here.
May God bless you with this message.
Mark 8:24 should be read in the context of Mark 8:22-26 as follows:
“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.””
Let me share 3 things I learn from this incident recorded in Mark 8:22-26 :
Firstly, there are always good reasons for things to happen the way they did. Why did Jesus not heal the man instantly? Couldn’t He just speak the word and this man get back his vision? Certainly! But remember, Jesus is God – He can choose how He wanted to heal. And in this case, He chose to adopt a 2-stage process. And as He did via parables, this was probably for the purpose of teaching us precious lessons. Sometimes we seek God in prayer to the extent of trying to “prescribe” to God how we like Him to act. There may be a place for fervent & bold prayers. But we must humbly submit to God’s sovereignty in how He decides to act.
Secondly, the people brought this blind man to Jesus and begged Jesus to “touch him” (v24). They probably did not expect Jesus to spit on his eyes. But to get back his vision, this man would accept whatever God would do to him. He did not resist or question Jesus as to why He did such a thing. Do we trust God enough to let Him do whatever He deemed right and necessary to us? Tough question. But perhaps if we were in as desperate a state as this blind man, we probably would. Thank God for being gentle and patient in how He slowly drew us to Himself and sanctify us.
Thirdly, the blind man saw “..men like trees, walking”. How could a man who had been blind be able to tell what trees looked like (if he had never seen before)? How could he have compared “men to be like trees walking”? I don’t believe there was anything “defective” in the healing act of Jesus. I don’t think He failed at the instant and therefore had to “adjust” how He healed. Remember, all that a blind man could see is darkness. But now, he is given some light. He probably still cannot figure out exactly what all that he saw meant. The same may be true for some of us in salvation. When the light of the gospel enters our heart, we have a sense of our sin and our need for salvation. We see, but yet do not see completely. But as we persevere in seeking God, He opens our eyes to see clearly and understand fully the things of our faith and the design of God in it all. This is what I believe this incident was meant to teach us.
Overall, let’s remember that we are blind men seeking a sovereign God to heal us. We have no “voting rights” in how He should deal with us. All we can do is to seek His grace & mercies. Thankfully, our God is gentle, patient and full of compassion. He knows what we are like and deals with each of us according to what He knows we are able to bear. May God encourage us.
Many management consultants have used this verse to tell their clients that their leaders need to provide a clear vision for the company. Otherwise, there is no “future” for the business; there is no direction for the team members.
So companies like Microsoft, who for a long time, had this as their vision – a computer on every desk top. Google’s mission is to organise the information in the world. And management consultants make a lot of money helping companies develop their vision, mission and values. Is this a misuse of Proverbs 29:18?
What exactly does this verse mean? The ESV translated Prov 29:18 as “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law”. (See the many different translations provided in the list below).
In the Old Testament, prophets were God’s mouthpiece to convey His will to the people. If God does not speak, if God does not give directions on what pleases Him, the people will do what is sinful. Hence, the verse was referring to prophetic revelation that guides the conduct of the people. And they are blessed when they keep these laws revealed by God.
In our context today, we need faithful preaching & teaching of God’s word to guide us on how we should live. If this is lacking in the local Church, the members will behave like the people did in the days of the Judges where “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 21:3
Mark 1:21 says “Then they went into Capernaum, ….”. In 2018, I had the privilege of visiting Israel and traced these foot steps of Jesus and His disciples at Capernaum.
Why are we so sure that that these are the same places recorded in the scriptures? The fact is – no one will be sure because it has been >2,000 years. But there are some tell-tale signs that give us some clues. For example, in every town, there is only 1 synagogue. Here in Capernaum, we see the remnants of this one synagogue recorded in Mark 1:21 “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.”
The narrative continues to tell us how Jesus & His disciples came out of the synagogue and entered the house of Simon & Andrew (Mark 1:29). Not far from the synagogue is a little set of ruins – which was apparently the village where Simon lived.
Mark 1:32-34 continues to tell us that Jesus healed those who were sick and demon-possessed – all these taking place in that little town where Peter lived.
And it all links well that these places were all in the vicinity of Galilee. It was so thrilling that I could set foot on the places which our Lord Jesus walked when He was on earth.
While I am no scholar, the existence of the land of Israel and all that is recorded that happened on it is, to me, great proof of the reality of Jesus and the truths of the bible. Therefore, we cannot and should not ignore the message of the gospel conveyed in the bible.
Jesus said in Mark 4:11 – “…To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables…”
I must admit that there many parables and spiritual truths that I still don’t understand. Yet, Jesus says to His disciples (and it should be relevant to me as well) that it has been given to us to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.
But in the same chapter, Mark 4:34 – we read that “…when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples”. The point I learn here is that understanding the mysteries of God requires us to be alone with Jesus. It requires dedication of time and devotion. It requires prayer and discipline of study. And when we are alone with God(Jesus), seeking Him in prayer and through His word, the understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom comes forth.
May this encourage all of us to read the scriptures and spend time alone with God, seeking Him in prayer and reading His word.
The video recording of the worship service at which this sermon was preached is found in the following link:
The actual sermon commenced at the 29:09 minute of the recording. The sermon script is can be found here.
May you be helped and all praise honour and glory be to God.