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:
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?
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
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.)
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
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
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
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?
and the Pharisees said that it would take a
miracle for them to see clearly. Were they right after
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.)
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
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!