Title: The Cure for Blindness
Focus: We should recognize that spiritual insight and understanding comes in stages through struggle. In recognizing this, we can avoid being blinded by the leaven of doubt and tentativeness in our faith.
Function: To motivate believers to accept the struggle in understanding the full implications of the Gospel as a normal and healthy struggle
Text: Mk 8:10-33
Intro: 1. Went to the Zoo over the weekend a. Desert Habitat - First thing (Sand Dune) Ow wow! How exciting b. More you went into it, more understanding of desert c. It not desolate, but full of life 2. That is how faith is, keep moving forward, it expands 3. Text this morning demonstrates that we need to have an expanding faith 4. 3 ways: I. (v.10-13) By accepting God’s evidence A. God never leaves himself without ample evidence B. Pharisees wanted proof from Jesus. Was that wrong? 1. Dt 13; 18; 1 Jn 4:1 - Says to test the prophets, don’t just swallow all 2. (Mic 3:5-7, 12) - False prophecies led to disaster 3. But Jesus had already give many, many signs a. Pharisees already rejected him (3:6) b. So they just trying to “trap” him c. Jesus not going to play their game 4. Besides, if they asking for absolute “proof” that eliminate faith C. ILL: Michael wanted absolute proof 1. He married Katie, beautiful person well liked by all 2. Always afraid someone would steal her 3. Paranoid that she might be having an affair 4. She assured him she wasn’t, but he hired investigator D. That nearly destroyed their marriage 1. He had no reason to doubt her, but did anyway 2. Her track record of faithfulness was not enough evidence 3. What would it do to relation with God if we same way? 4. God provided plenty of evidence E. Their problem was their faith was non-existent at worst, and tentative at best II. (v.14-21) By having a faith that is not tentative A. It seemed that there were those that had trouble committing fully B. Jesus made object lesson of Pharisees - Beware of their leaven 1. They didn’t get it, so Jesus gave sharp rebuke a. Strongest rebuke of disciples, language of Old Test. b. Jer 5:21 - Wicked who do not see or hear c. Ezek 12:2 - Rebellious have eyes, not see, baggage d. Low blow - Are you hearts hardened? 2. Jesus asks, do you not yet understand? a. Asks questions about the feedings - Evidently was more significant - Yet disciples not marveled at feedings as they did some of the other miracles b. What so significant about feedings? c. Jesus is bread of life - Provide life in wilderness d. What does that have to do with leaven of Pharisees? C. ILL: Leaven considered an impurity in the ancient world 1. It left-over lump of old dough (if not careful, rot and make sick) 2. Only takes a little lump for a whole batch 3. What if I give you glass of water dog slobbered in? Only a little 4. Just takes a small amount to ruin it D. So what is the small amout of Pharisee and Herod Leaven? 1. Pharisee - Not commital until “see signs” (tentative 2. Herod - To interested in self to accept God 3. So the leaven is blindness and rebellion E. Leaven is Illustrated in the next portion of text III. (v.22-26) By struggling with blindness A. Beware of leaven of Pharisees and Herod 1. The incident in the boat makes it look like they have it? 2. Are they guilty of blindness? 3. Is this bad news for them? B. There are two kinds of blindness 1. Struggling blindness a. Like disciples as they struggle to understand b. Like the blind man, sight come in stages c. Struggled, “looked intently” and sight restored 2. Non-Struggling blindess (invincible ignorance) a. Pharisees who not admit they blind b. Refused to regain their sight c. Therefore, Jesus not waste a sign on invincible blind 3. This is reminiscent of what happened in wilderness a. Pharisees “test” Jesus, but not really b. (Ps 78:9-20, 40-43) - Tested in the wilderness c. Refused to believe and commit, in spite of signs C. ILL: Tightrope across Niagara 1. Began to ask people if they believe he could go without pole 2. Then with a wheel barrow, then with wheelbarrow full of dirt 3. Then asked if they believe he can take person across 4. All cheered yes. So he grabbed man who cheered loudest 5. “Let’s Go!” D. Jesus demonstrated he could take whole world across the rope 1. It takes a flexible expanding faith to move you 2. All were blind, but not all struggled with it 3. Pharisees thought they figured it all out, nothing new to learn 4. But there is always new things to learn Concl: 1. May struggle with blindness a long time a. Notice in following passage Peter’s flash of insight on Messiah b. But still didn’t understand full implications of Gospel (v.31-33) 2. Realize you are a lifelong learner a. ILL: At Harding, we not indoctrinated, but made students b. ILL: 60 yr old Christian - Everytime I study, I get new insight, learn something new c. . ILL: Man who did so, rejected by religious authorities. Bottom line - If what you are saying is true, then that means what we have believed and taught for years is wrong. 3. Faith has to struggle, expand and be pliable, like rubber, or gets brittle 4. If struggling with full implications of Gospel. wrestle with word - That is good and normal. Keep on struggling a. Gospel means being good father, son, daugher, employee b. Gospel means we are to minister and serve as Jesus did c. Gosple means nothing we have is our own d. Means we are disciple, everyday lifestyle commitment 5. Sometimes takes years of struggle before understand 6. Invitation: May be struggling with decision to be a Christian