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An Uncommon Miracle: Experiencing a Second Touch
Scripture: Mark 8:22-38; 9; 10:1-52
Track 10 of 19 in the Encountering a Changing World series
Running time: 21 minutes, 45 seconds.
Three times the disciples hear about going to Jerusalem, but they cant hear it. The blind men healed are in image of spiritual healing. The double touch Jesus won't give up: grace.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Sermon for Sunday, March 9, 2003
An Uncommon Miracle
(Mark 8:22 - 10:52)
G. Charles Sackett

If you want to go ahead and take your Bibles. We are going to look at Mark Chapter 8, starting in Verse 22. It's just a fascinating text to me. I know I say that a lot, so you must think I think them all fascinating. But this one is quite interesting. If you don't have a Bible and you want to use the pew Bible, if there is one near you; it's on page 199. Now in your regular Bible that may not be helpful to you because it may not match. And this is just an interesting development that occurs in this text.

Look at Verse 22 of Chapter 8. They came to Bethsaida. And some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand, and led him outside of the village; and when he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus said, "Do you see anything?"

He looked up and said, "I see people; but they look like trees, walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes; and then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go in the village."

Do you notice anything really unusual about that text? I mean, it comes across almost as if Jesus failed doesn't it? I mean, he had to do it twice. That's the only miracle in all the Gospels where the act of Jesus doesn't heal a person on first touch or first word. It's just an odd sort of a thing and you have to ask yourself, did He fail? Well, that's one of the options, but frankly, since Jesus never failed at anything He ever did, I don't think that's it. In which case it only leaves one alternative. He did it on purpose. And He healed this man in two stages, for some peculiar reason. And I find myself wrestling with that question, well why did He do that? Maybe the context would help. If you just think back. We have already looked at Chapter 7. But remember Chapter 7, Verses 31 through 36? There's this healing of the deaf mute and everybody is amazed because nobody has ever seen anybody do that kind of thing. And then you come to Chapter 8; the first thirteen verses and Jesus feeds the 4,000 and there are seven loaves left over. And then the very next paragraph, He gives this warning to the disciples. Be careful about the Yeast of the Pharisees, and the disciples are going - He must be talking about bread.

And in Verse 21 of Chapter 8 he says about them: "Do you not yet understand?"

And then he heals this man in two stages.

Now can you put that on hold for just a minute? Can I interrupt our train of thought for just a second? Cause there's some other things I think would be important for us to notice before we come back to that story.

In fact, let's just go on a little further in Mark's Gospel. If you notice Verse 27, right after the healing. We finally get to the thing that seems to be the thing that Jesus has been driving at since the very beginning.

Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare'a Philip'pi; and on the way He asked them, "Who do people say I am?" And they replied, "Some say you're John the Baptist; and others say, you're Eli'jah; and still others say you're one of the prophets." "But who do you say?" Peter said, "You are the Christ." And Jesus warned them not to tell anybody about Him.

He then began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed, and after three days rise again. And He spoke plainly about this. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

Now, we're going to come back to this text and look at it in detail next week but just, just notice what happens. Peter offers the very thing that Jesus has been looking for this entire first part of the Gospel of Mark. He's been preparing them for this one fundamental question. Who am I? Jesus gets the question out and Peter immediately gives the answer everybody's looking for; you are the One sent from God. And you're ready to go, Yeah! And then Jesus says I'm going to go to ah - by the way, to be killed and then rise again. And you can almost, if you use your imagination, see the look on Peter's face change. And he says, in essence to Jesus, No You're Not. The word is in the text; He rebuked him. That's a strong word. He got right up in Jesus face and said, NO THAT's NOT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO!

See, sometimes we simply reject the message. Isn't that interesting? We don't like what we hear and so we simply turn it off. Jesus said, this is what I'm gonna do. Peter said I don't like the sound of that so NO you're not!

I guess I wanna warn you. I think it's only fair. I mean, Preachers ought to do that once in awhile, right? Three weeks from today, March 30, we're going to talk about marriage and money in the context of discipleship. So consider yourself forewarned. Marriage and money are coming the last Sunday of the month. So for those of you who don't like those messages, I just want you to know already, it's coming!

'Cause ya see, we all ought to have the option of rejecting what we don't want to hear. Well, sometimes we do that. We hear what we don't like in the text and so we simply turn it off. The phrase sounds a lot like this, whether you verbalize it quite this way or not. This is what it sounds like; well I know that's what the Bible says. . .'s that reconciliation text, you know, when it says, if you think your brother has ought against you, go first and make reconciliation with your brother before you come to the alter. And you say, well that's really nice but I don't like that text.

I remember watching one Sunday morning, it was kind of an odd sort of thing, but it was the right thing. In fact, I'm convinced it was the right thing. It was during the invitation time. We were all standing, singing the invitational hymn. One of the ladies in the church got up - I thought maybe she was coming forward, but she didn't. She walked across the back of the room, all the way to the other side, and engaged this other woman on the other side, and there were tears being shed and hugs being offered and all of a sudden it became apparent. They were wrestling with reconciliation at a time that was very difficult for them and it would have been easier just to reject it. Cause you see sometimes we just reject the truth.

Come in a little later in the Chapter. Well, Chapter 9 actually, come over to Chapter 9; Verse 30. Now we'll go back and pick some of this up. But Peter, James and John and Jesus have been on the mount of transfiguration and now they have come down the mountain and there's been this little boy who needed to be healed from a demon. Jesus takes care of that. That's where we are in the story.

Now look at Verse 30. They left that place and they passed through Galilee. Jesus didn't want anyone to know where they were because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of man is going to be betrayed into the hands of man, they will kill him; and after three days he will rise again." But they did not understand what he meant and they were afraid to ask.

Jesus announces; betrayed, killed, rise again. They don't know what he's talking about, and they don't want to ask. Cause see, sometimes we simply get confused. We just don't get it!

I remember preaching in this church. Actually I was doing a special meeting for them. Had preached three or four nights and it came to my attention that one of the people over on the musical instruments, that appeared to me to be a gentleman who had probably been a Christian all his life, had never become a Christian. And I thought, Boy that's ODD! And so, we had this conversation over lunch that day and I said, I don't get it - I mean you've been playing for the church for years. He says, Yeah, I really do love Jesus. But he says, I'm afraid if I take that next step, I'll mess it up and then, and then people will think that this Christian isn't living up to this Christian life style, and I'll be a hypocrite. I thought, you know, that's a great motive for not making a decision, it's just that it's confused. Of course after you take the next step; of course after you give your life fully to Jesus; of course after you've been immersed into Him, you're going to mess it up. We all do! That doesn't make you a hypocrite; it makes you human. Hypocrites are people who play the game, who claimed to never mess up. And he looked at me, like, you've got to be kidding - all these years - - and we baptized him that night. He just needed to get past the confusion.

Of course, some people, it's not just that their confused, their kind of like the disciples. You notice, they didn't want to ask. See, some people in their confusion, also don't want to know.

That was Doris. . . . She's one of my favorite ladies in life. Everybody ought to have a Doris in their life. This was the sweetest lady, and funny. Not intentionally funny, just funny. Like standing in church one Wednesday night, out here in the middle of the aisle, where the floor furnace existed in our little church building. All of a sudden she just let out this cackle. . . . it's a Wednesday night, just about before church is supposed to start. . . .and everybody turns around and looks at her. . . . . she's standing there looking at her feet, saying; I've got one blue shoe and one black one. And she just laughed. That was Doris. She came to me one day and said I'm not going to read my Bible any more. I said, you're not, how come? She says ya know, every time I read it I find something in there that I'm not doing and I kinda like my life just the way it is and if I keep reading my Bible I'm gonna have to change and I don't want to change so I'm just not reading it any more. I just wanted you to know. And I said, OK. She came back about a month later and said, You know, I couldn't do that. I just had to go (and I thought, yeah, that's right). But, ya know, aren't we sometimes like that? We don't know the answer but yet we really don't want to know the answer, so we just don't look, ya know.

Well, come another chapter over will ya, to Chapter 10. This is the Chapter we'll be looking at on March 30th. And coming right after the comments that he makes about the rich young ruler, Jesus picks up this language of the wealth of following Jesus where everybody has houses and lands and friends and all that kind of stuff if they follow Jesus.

Look at Verse 32. And they were on their way to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way; and the disciples were astonished while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the twelve aside and he said, "We are going to go to Jerusalem; and the Son of man is going to be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They'll condemn him to death, hand him over to the Gentiles. They will mock and spit on him, and flog him and kill him; and three days later he will rise again."

It really doesn't get any more explicit than that. He lays it out. This is exactly what's going to happen to me in a matter of days and look at want they want to know in the very next verse.

James and John, sons of Zeb'edee came to him and said, "Teacher, we want to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left."

And you want to go. . . . s w i s h - I mean, it must have flown right by them. He just got done being as explicit as he could possibly be. And they want to know, who gets to be prominent in the Kingdom?? And you just wonder, where are these guys?? Cause ya see, I think sometimes ya just get distracted. You know, we get caught up in the wrong stuff. Their thinking about prominence and He's thinking about suffering. And that's not hard to do. It's easy for people to get caught up in the wrong stuff!

On Palm Sunday, I've been invited to go up to the Bowen Church and help them dedicate their new church building. I don't know if any of you will be there, but I will, so if I tell you this. . . . you won't be telling them.. . That one of the things I'm going to have them do is look out the windows. And their going to think that is really strange; but I'm going to have them go look out the windows. Because you know what happens when you build a new building? Everybody peeks in the windows. They walk up and peek in the window. How's it going in there? And pretty soon, we're all focused on what's going on inside the building. As if the building is what was important, and the building is nothing more than a tool for you to use to look outside to the world. And so, I'm going to have them stand there and look out the window and say, what's going on out there that we built this church to accomplish? Because sometimes, you see, we get distracted. We get caught up thinking about the wrong stuff and it isn't bad stuff, necessarily. It's not that we're intentionally out to lunch, we just sometimes are, out to lunch.

Was preaching one Sunday night (this is no kidding). This happened in the middle of church, I think in the middle of the sermon. One of the guys in the church, about there where Dale is, hopped up and said, I think it's time I become an elder. And it was like, where did that come from?? He said I've been around here like 25 years and I've never been made an elder. I wanted to say, there's a reason for that. I didn't, because I'm more polite than that. I waited until the next day to say that. But it was like - - see, he thought being an elder meant being important and having position and power. He just needed to be an elder for a little while and find out what it means is you get to do the dishes. But see, sometimes we just get distracted by stuff.

Three times Jesus predicts his death, each time just a little more explicit than the last time and every time he announces it, they miss the point.

Do you remember our blind man? Can we come back to that story? Jesus touched him twice. Now I wonder why that is? Could it be, that Jesus is willing to work with us until we can see? It is possible that what He's doing, couched in the context of all of this spiritual blindness, is saying I refuse to give up? Do you know what they call that second touch? They call that Grace. When you are not left just because you fail to see the first time. See, Jesus longs for us to SEE. And if He has to touch you three times, four times, He's willing.

Can I ask you to look at one more story that kind of wraps this whole thing up? Go back to the end of Chapter 10. It's really rather intriguing the way this whole big, long section ends.

Verse 46: Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus, together with his disciples, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimae'us, the son of Timae'us, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began shouting, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many rebuked him, told him to be quiet; he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And so they called to the blind man, "Cheer up, on your feet, he's calling you. (Listen to this!) Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and he came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do?" Jesus said. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." And Jesus said, "Go; your faith has healed you." And immediately he received his sight and he followed Jesus along the way.

Does it not fascinate you that this story starts with the healing of a blind man and it ends with the healing of a blind man and all the way in between the disciples are as blind as the proverbial bat? And yet Jesus indicates, I will stay with you until you can see, because He longs for us to see. He wants for us to be whole. He wants us in a relationship with Him. He does not turn us away simply because we are blind and don't see it the first time. He will come back to us again, again and again until we finally get it. So, DO YOU GET IT? Has it become clear to you that more than anything in all the world, GOD wants a relationship with you through his Son, Jesus, and He's willing to work with you no matter what you've done or where you've been. They call that GRACE. Absolutely, AMAZING GRACE, that allows us in our blindness to be invited back to Jesus. And did you notice what this man did? He just threw his cloak aside and followed him. That doesn't mean a lot to us, except it's 9 out there. A Jewish man's coat was everything he had. It was his blanket. It was his coat. It was his bed. The man was probably sitting on it when he got up to go see Jesus. And he got up and walked away and left the most important things in his life in order to follow. Can you do that? Can you walk away from what's most important to you, whatever that happens to be, your pride or whatever it is and just say YES to Him? Cause He's asking what do you want me to do for you. See, the GRACE of God says; Come Walk with Me. Don't be blind any more. It is AMAZING GRACE that reaches out to you and if you don't know Jesus, we're inviting you to know him. In His grace he will heal you of your spiritual blindness. If you're ready to give your life to Him, if you're ready to be obedient to Him in baptism, we're ready for you to come. If you don't know what to do, if you don't know what the next step in your journey is, come and talk to us. Let us work with you while you find that way. There is GRACE for those of us who need to see.