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LESSON 3 - HIS HEALING TOUCH (MARK 8:22-25)

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION:  This week our lesson suggests that Jesus understood
our need to be touched.  I read all of the texts in the gospels
that mention Jesus and touching. There are surprisingly few of
them; ten to be exact. Some are a repetition of the same story, and
one deals with proof of Jesus' resurrection. That leaves us six
independent texts on touching. Let me divide among you four of the
texts and we will read all of them.  The last two I will read and
we will discuss. Please read:

     Matthew 9:21
     Matthew 14:36
     Mark 3:10
     Mark 10:13

I. WHOSE TOUCH?
     A. Before we get into our story of healing this week, turn
     with me to Luke 6:17-19.  I think this gives us a good summary
     of the tenor of those texts that you read that deal with Jesus
     and healing through touch. Read.

          1. Who is generally doing the touching in these texts?

               a. Why?

          2. Do you think these texts generally illustrate our need
          to be touched? (No! While touching is no doubt a good
          thing to do to others (just not in the office if you are
          a male), if you actually read the gospel texts on
          touching (as we did), they show that the people felt a
          very strong desire to touch Jesus. The authors of our
          lesson have reversed the general discussion in the
          gospels about touching.  We will, however, look at a
          story where Jesus touched "us.")

          3. Tell me why Jesus would let "power" go from Him to
          heal people?

               a. Do we need to be touched by Jesus or do we need
               to touch Him?

               b. Is it more important for us to touch others or
               teach them how to touch Christ?

                    (1) Are these mutually exclusive goals?

II. TOUCHING THE BLIND:THE MISFIRE?

     A. Let's get into our healing story for this week and our last
     text on touching. Turn with me to Mark 8:22-25. Read.
 

          1. Does this story start out like our other texts on
          touching? Does it involve a person who wants to touch
          Jesus? (Not exactly.  Instead of people rushing to touch
          Jesus, they beg Jesus to touch a blind man.)

               a. Do you think the fact that the man is blind has
               anything to do with this unusual detail? (Yes.)

          2. Notice that Jesus touched him for a long time without
          him being healed. He (v.23) led him outside the village
          "by the hand."

               a. How could Jesus touch this fellow for so long
               without healing him?

               b. How did these other people (for example our text
               in Luke 6) simply touch Jesus and receive healing?
               (This was obviously a controllable power. People
               were not just being healed whenever they touched
               Jesus. Jesus (or someone from the Godhead) was
               apparently making a decision on His power "going
               out.")

     B. Let me read to you vv. 23-24 again.
 
          1. Is this a failed miracle?

          2. A partial miracle?

          3. Did Jesus or the man lack faith?

          4. Is this fellow just not used to seeing people, so that
          is why he thinks they look like "walking trees?" Anyone
          here we might mistake for a tree?

          5. If you were blind, and now you could see people, but
          not very clearly, would you be satisfied?

               a. Was Jesus satisfied with partial sight?

     C. Notice that Jesus first spit in his face and then touched
     him. What did Jesus do differently in v.25?

          1. Is this a case of Jesus lacking the right
          technique?

          2. Was the spitting a mistake?

               a. Do you think that people normally enjoyed being
               spit on in those days? (No. It was an insult then
               just as it is now. See Matthew 26:67.)

          3. Is this some sort of lesson to us?  If you spit on
          people when you help them, things won't go exactly right?

     D. Let's see if we can unravel this mystery by looking at the
     context of our story. Let's back up a few verses and read Mark
     8:14-21.  The story just before this is the feeding of the
     four thousand from seven loaves and a few fish. Now read.

          1. The disciples thought that Jesus was talking about
          bread. (v.16) Was He?

               a. Did the disciples lack bread?

               b. What about the one loaf in the boat? (v.14)

               c. Was Jesus the "one loaf in the boat?" (Jesus had
               just gotten through creating bread. See vv. 4-8,
               19-20. Bread was no problem with Jesus around.)

          2. Why did the disciples misunderstand when Jesus spoke
          of (v.15) "the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod?"
          (They had not yet clearly focussed on the meaning of His
          teaching. As a result, they did not "see" and did not
          understand. (vv.17, 21))

          3. What do you think Jesus meant by the "yeast of the
          Pharisees and Herod?" Can you "see" what Jesus means? (In
          v.11 the Pharisees "demand a sign" from Jesus.  In Luke
          23:8 we learn that Herod wanted a "sign" (some miracle)
          from Jesus too.)
 
     E. Is that the "yeast?" A desire to see signs?  Or is there a
     deeper problem? (Let's compare some verses.)

          1. Do you think that v.17 and v.23 have any relationship
          to each other? (The disciples are not blind, but they
          cannot "see" clearly.  The man who used to be blind also
          cannot yet "see" clearly.)

               a. Is it the same kind of blindness? (No. Spiritual
               blindness for the disciples versus actual
               blindness.)

          2. What did it take for the blind man to see clearly? (A
          second touch by Jesus.)

          3. What would it take for the disciples to see clearly?

          4. Herod and the Pharisees said that it would take a
          miracle for them to see clearly. Were they right after
          all?

     F. Let's read on. Read Mark 8:27-29.  Do you think this has
     anything to do with what we have just discussed?

          1. What possible reason could Herod and the Pharisees
          have for wanting a sign from Jesus? (It had to do with
          who He was. They were suggesting that He was not the
          Christ, and they would not believe He was the Christ,
          unless He did a "performance miracle" for them.)

          2. Give me one reason why the disciples should not be
          worried about bread? (They had the "one loaf" with them
          in the boat. If they believed Jesus was God, they would
          never have to worry about bread. That is why Jesus
          reviewed His "bread miracles" for them. (vv.18-21))

     G. Now do you think it was some sort of error that Jesus did
     not give the blind man perfect sight the first time?

          1. Was this miracle of restoring sight the end in itself?

          2. Or was it a means to an end? (It was a means to an
          end. Jesus wanted the disciples to see that continued
          contact with Him was required for them to "see" the
          message of who He was.)

          3. Did the Pharisees and Herod believe that the miracles
          were an end in themselves? (Yes. They did not want to
          know Jesus. They wanted to see a miracle.)

          4. Remember last week that Jesus said to the humpback
          woman that she was "free from [her] infirmity" (Luke
          13:12) BEFORE He straightened her back?  Remember two
          weeks ago that the paralyzed guy was told that his sins
          were forgiven BEFORE he was healed (Mark 2:5).  Why do
          you think Jesus talked about sin before physical healing?
          (Because the real issue is who Jesus is.  It is primarily
          an issue of breaking the bonds of sin and not just a
          healing or miracle now.)

          5. Was giving the blind man sight secondary to teaching
          a spiritual lesson? (Yes!)

          6. Is that true for you when you come to Jesus to be
          healed?

               a. When you ask Him to heal someone you love?

               b. Should we realize that the spiritual lesson, the
               advancement of the Kingdom comes first?

               c. Is this the true meaning of being a servant, that
               we put our personal interests second to the
               advancement of the kingdom?  If we have a
               "terminal" illness, can we say, "Whether I live or
               die, I am satisfied with the outcome which most
               advances the Kingdom of God?" Is true restoration
               an issue that goes beyond healing?

III. NEXT WEEK: "HEALING THE SPIRIT" We will continue our
discussion of the true goal of healing. Study!