Mark 8:22-30

10 Feb 2024

Mark 8:22-30

Passage Mark 8:22-30

Speaker Sam Wiffen


Passage: Mark 8:22-30
Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

So the passage is from mark 822 30. 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 the village. When he had spat on the man's eyes and put hands on him, Jesus asked, do you see anything? He looked up and said, I see people.

They look like trees. Walking around once more, Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, don't even go into the village. Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.

On the way, he asked them, who do people say I am? They replied, some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others, one of the prophets. But what about you? He asked, who do you say I am? Peter answered, you are the messiah.

Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Great. Well, thank you very much for that, Tom. Good morning, everyone. It's great to be here with you all today. My name's Sam.

As Ben said, I'm one of the church family here at All Saints Totley, and it's a great pleasure to be able to be with you this morning and talk through this passage with you today. It's also a great pleasure for Ben to give me a passage that talks about a man getting spit on his eyes so he might regret that a bit later on. Well, today is our last passage in Mark for a little bit. And given Ben's meticulous planning, it's no coincidence that it's quite a key passage in the Gospel of Mark. See, it acts as a sort of turning point in Mark's gospel and changes the focus of what Mark's looking at, because we've seen over the past few weeks that the key question in the first half of Mark's gospel is, who is this man?

Who is Jesus? Now, it's slightly funny because in the very first verse of Mark's gospel, literally, chapter one, verse one, Mark says this, the beginning of the good news about Jesus, the messiah, the son of God. So there you go. He's told us already who Jesus is. Now, I don't know if you're like me, but sometimes I can get stuck on some tricky words.

And so I'm going to need a bit of help today with this word messiah, because messiah is a word, we don't use it every day. I get confused by it and it comes up a lot. Now, messiah, it means this sort of Christ. It means chosen one, it means the promised king. So I'm going to need some help to remind me what Messiah means as we go through this talk today.

Is that going to be all right? So every time you hear the word messiah, I want you all to say the promised king afterwards to help me remember what it means. Do you think we can do that? Let's have a quick practise. So, Mark, chapter one, verse one, the beginning of the good news about Jesus, the messiah.

Excellent. I won't make you go through it. There's going to be plenty of opportunity for you. So, great messiah, promised king. Mark is telling us all about who Jesus is, and he's not hiding it.

In fact, ever since that first verse, he goes on a whistle stop tour, showing us lots of examples of Jesus doing miracles and amazing things to prove that Jesus is the messiah. Nice work. Even I've forgotten about that one, so that's good. But here's the thing that we've seen over the weeks as well. People don't get it.

People have not understood who Jesus is. They've not understood what Mark's been telling them. Yes, they've been amazed at what they've seen, but they don't understand it. They don't get what Mark's telling us. Well, that is all going to change in our passage today.

But first, I thought it'd be good to have a bit of a recap about what we've seen in Mark's gospel so far, because we've probably not all been here for every week of it. There'll be some bits we've missed out. So let's see what Mark has been telling us. And I'm going to need some help for this. Now, one thing you might not know if you're not involved in children's church is my drawings are incredible.

Okay. You'll very quickly hear some audible groans from the children, I'm sure. But my drawings, as you can see from this stunning piece of artwork, are pretty, pretty good. Some would say the coolest drawings you've ever seen. Right.

I've got a few pictures here of stories that we've seen in Mark's gospel. And so I'm going to need some volunteers to come up and hold these one at a time. And as a group all together, we need to firstly guess the story. And then once we've seen them all, we need to put them in order as well. Okay?

So that's going to be the tricky part. So can we have a volunteer to come and hold this picture? Isabel, come on. Not you, Izzy. Don't worry.

The other, I wouldn't get you up the front is. Don't worry. There you go. So you can hold this one. Hold it high.

And what do we reckon this story is?

And you guessed one there, didn't you? Did you guess one? I thought. I thought I saw you mumbling. No.

Go on then, Joey, what do you reckon? Jesus walking on the water. That's right. We've got the disciples in the boat over here. Hold it up high.

Yeah, that's it. Jesus over here walking on the water to come and meet his disciples. Great. I need another volunteer. Joshua, do you want to come up?

Go, Amy. You can guess. You can guess.

That's exactly right. This is, this. As you can see, these are the pigs down here. What's the laughter for? Unbelievable.

So we've got pigs down here and we've got this man. He's supposed to be sort of shaking a bit and he's got chains. And this was the man who. Who was possessed by a demon. But Jesus casts out that demon and they go into the pigs.

Brilliant. You guys are doing a great job. Right, another volunteer. Dan, someone from this side can come and do this one. Right, thank you.

Dan, what do we reckon about this one? Any ideas?

Gone. The seed falling, otherwise known as parable of the sower. Thank you, Rachel, I thought you'd be a bit more up to speed on the actual story names, but. Never mind. But, yes, this is a wonderful picture of the parable of the sower where this guy's chucking the seed out and there's the path, there's the stones, the rocky ground, the thorns, and then the good soil up here where the flowers are growing.

If you guys need to rest your arms, you can put your arms down a little bit. Right, another volunteer. Henry, you've been waiting so patiently because at like half seven this morning, you were keen to be a volunteer, weren't you? So, right, what do you reckon about this one? We can shout out some answers to these.

Oh, not quite the raising of Lazarus, but very close.

Yeah. So this is the healing of the girl who was. She was in bed and she. She died. And then Jesus comes on the way and he comes and he lifts her out of bed, takes her by the hand and raises her back to life again.

So that's that one that's going to keep flopping, Hen, if you keep holding it like that. Right, I need another volunteer. This one is going to be a tricky one, Joey, come on. I had no idea how to draw this passage. As you can see, what do we reckon?

This picture is gone, Claudia. It was last week's. Do you want to expand?

Exactly, yes. So what goes into that? This is all a passage about being clean and unclean, wasn't it? And Jesus said what goes into the body is not what makes us unclean but actually it's what comes out of the body. The cross and the tick are very confusing in this one because the tick is actually the bad thing here.

But it's the evil that comes out of our heart that is where the problem is. Great. Josiah, do you want to come up?

You can do this one. Now you might think with it being Super bowl weekend, these are american footballs. They're not. What do we reckon? This passage is gone.

Naomi, what do you reckon? Did you have an idea or did you want to volunteer for the next one? Okay, great. Yeah. So what's this one exactly?

This is Jesus feeding the 5000, isn't it? Where he broke the bread and gave thanks and there was food for all of it. This is a crowd. Okay, just, just to clarify, it does look a bit like fish. Naomi, you wanted to come and do this one, didn't you?

Can you hold that one up? Right, what do we reckon this final story one is?

That is correct. This is Jesus calming the storm. That one. I don't need to explain that. That's a wonderful drawing.

Right, so what we need to do now is we need to put all of these stories in the order that they happen in Mark's gospel. So let's start with Joey because we knew what this one was, didn't we, Claudia? This one was last week's passage. So Joey, you come down to this end. Look, what do we reckon was the first story gone, Claire?

Claire knows.

Not, not quite. It was the first one that we started when we came back into Mark. Yes, but parable of the sower. Yes. So that was you, Dan, was it?

Great, you come down here and then, Claire, what was it? Calming of the storm. Who's got calming of the storm? You're already there, Naomi. Brilliant.

Right then what about these? We've got these four still, have we? What's next? The pigs. The pigs are next.

Yes, that's correct. Where are the pigs? You're already there. Right, what's next?

Correct. Who's got that one? Hen. So you're next in line here. Brilliant.

And then what do you reckon about these two? Are these the right way around or do we need to swap them? Really? Swap in. Let's swap those.

So, yeah, Josiah, you come here. That's right. So well done, everyone. Let's have a little quick, quick round of applause for our volunteers. You're not.

Just stay here for a minute, Joshua, you're not quite done yet. So these are all what we've seen so far in Mark's gospel. So in the first passage, Jesus was telling us about the parable of the sower. And Jesus point here was that when the disciples were going to go out and they were going to tell people all about Jesus, people would respond differently. So, Dan, can you turn your page around?

Excellent. So this is lots of different reactions because Jesus point here was people were going to respond differently to when they hear about him and see little bits of who he is. So our next passage we saw Jesus is the one who has power over nature, didn't we? As he calms the storm. Now, what reaction did people have in this story?

Can anyone remember?

Naomi might be giving you a little clue by slightly turning the page around already. Look, gone. What do we reckon? Not confusion. This one.

What's that one? That's it. They were worried. They were scared. They were terrified.

The passage tells us says the disciples were terrified. And they asked each other, who is this that even the wind and waves obey him. Great. And then in our next story, we had this one where we saw that Jesus has the power over evil, so evil does not control him. He has the power over evil.

So what do we reckon? Can you hold up this side, Joshua? Hold it up high to everyone. Yeah, that's right. So this one, we've got two sort of reactions.

Yeah, thanks, hen. Scared and shocked. So more amazed. So in this passage we saw the people from the man's village were terrified and they asked Jesus to leave the area. And then at the end of that passage, it tells us all the people were amazed at what Jesus had done.

That's great. So this next one, what was your one? The power over death. This one. So Jesus raised the girl from death back to life to show that he has the power over death.

Now, there are a couple of reactions here. Do you want to hold that up, Pen? So firstly, when Jesus first got there and he told people that the girl was just sleeping, people laughed because they knew she was dead. They thought he was talking absolute nonsense. But then also when he had risen her back to life, it says that the people there were completely astonished.

They were amazed. And then our next one that we saw that Jesus is the one who can provide for all our needs. He's the good shepherd that takes care of his people. And the people reacted here, can you hold that one up? Just turn it around.

Look. What's this one? This was confusion. The disciples didn't get what Jesus was asking them to do. When he said, you go and get them some food.

And they spoke amongst themselves and they said, that would take half a year's wages to feed this many people. How are we going to get that food? Because they just did not get it. And then, Isabel, what's your one? Jesus walking on the water.

And again, we've got similar reactions. We've got people, they were terrified. They were scared. They saw Jesus and they thought he was a ghost. And they were terrified.

And then at the end, they were amazed. And this one actually links back to the passage that we had before. Because we're told in Isabel's passage, it says they were completely amazed. For they had not understood about the loaves. Their hearts were hardened.

You see, disciples, they just were not getting it. And then finally, Joey, the king of hearts, we saw Jesus had a bit of a confrontation with the Pharisees. And he was teaching them that actually the real problem of humanity and of us here today. Is not what comes into our bodies, but it's what is in our hearts that comes out of our bodies. That's where evil resides.

Well, thank you, everyone. You guys can go and sit down. Let's give them another little clap, because they've been up here for a while. You can just put these. Unfortunately, I didn't know Ben was giving Kitkats out, so I have not got any chocolates.

The messiah.

Thank you. Thank you. Someone still listening. The promised king. That's right.

But no one is understanding it. Now, we may sit here, we may think, how on earth do you not understand? Like, hands up if you'd seen all of these miracles here. Hands up if you think you'd sort of get it. I mean, I'm generally fairly arrogant anyway, but I think I would get it.

I think I would get that Jesus is the messiah. Thank you very much. And we see Jesus in that final passage. He asked the disciples, how are you so dull? How do they still not get it?

And sometimes we wonder how they don't. But actually, over the last few weeks, what we've seen sort of makes sense, doesn't it, with the problem not being one of understanding, not being an intellectual problem. But it's a problem of our hearts that stops us seeing who Jesus is. You see, the disciples, the Pharisees, the crowds, they could all see the miracles. They all understood that they were important and special.

But their hearts stopped them from believing. And it's all the same for us today. We've got that same problem. We can come to church, we can know the Bible stories, we can read as much as we want, but unless our hearts are made clean and unless they are transformed, then we won't get it. We won't clearly see who Jesus is.

We might just think he's a good teacher, that he teaches us some good morals, some things that are right, some things that are wrong. We might think he's crazy, performing miracles, claiming to be God. Whatever we think of him, we just won't get it. Unless Jesus helps us to see that he is the Messiah.

Well, this background is what we've seen over the last few weeks and it helps us with understanding our passage today, because in our passage today we have another miracle. And it's one that's slightly different to some of the ones we've seen already, and it's one that even seems to go wrong. And we're going to look at that in the next part of the talk. But before that, Rachel's going to come and lead us in prayers and then we're going to sing.

As we look at this next part of the talk, I think it would be good to remind ourselves of what happens in our passage and in this miracle today. And I'm going to need a volunteer. I need a very specific volunteer. So this is, it's someone. They need to be in their late thirties.

They need to have, have three children. The name begins with a b and they're vicar of. Totley. Totley, all saints. Have you got anyone?

I think we have. Ben. Come on up. Now, Ben, you're going to play the blind man in our story today. Now, this blind man was a man without a microphone or glasses on, so we might need to take those bits off.


And so in our passage today, we have a blind man and we have Jesus. And Jesus, he takes the blind man, takes him by the hand and he leads him away from the crowds so that he's there alone with the disciples. Just keep your eyes closed, Ben, you stay there.

Now, unfortunately, Ben, I've had a bit of a chesty cough this week, so it would have not been as bad normally, but. So Jesus, in this miracle, now, normally in miracles we've seen Jesus, he just usually speaks or there's a touch, but here he spits. So I'm not going to do it properly because Cat will tell me off.

He gets some spit and he puts it, he puts it on the man's eyes just like that, just like that. And then he asked the man, can you see anything?

No, no.

Oh, sorry. Yes, I can. Like trees walking around. Yeah, exactly. So he can see something vaguely, but not, not in full.

And then Jesus, he puts his hands on the man again and then he asks him, can you open your eyes now and can you see? Yes.

Much better than before, at least. Anyway, that's great. Thank you, bind man. Ben, you can go and sit down. Yeah, give Ben a little round of applause.

So that miracle, slightly odd in that at first it doesn't seem to work. So what's going on here is Jesus suddenly lost his ability to heal people. Has he lost some of his power? Well, I don't think that's what's going on. And this miracle is so odd that there must be a reason for it.

You see, it's done. Jesus takes the blind man away from the crowd. So this is for the disciples only. He then uses spit, whereas he doesn't use that very often. Elsewhere.

He asks the man for clarification. You know, do you see? Has it worked? Have I been able to heal you? You see, it works, but only partially at first, before then finally and completely.

It's so odd. There must be a reason for it. And I think it's. Jesus seems to be giving the disciples a bit of a clue, a bit more of a clue to understand about who Jesus is. You see, giving sight to the blind is not an everyday common occurrence, as I'm sure you're very aware.

But it was a sign from the Old Testament of what? One of the things, the messiah.

You're a bit slow there. I should have warned you. It was still going through this part of the talk as well, giving sight to the blind. It was a sign of the messiah from the old testament. And we see here in the next part of the story, Jesus starts asking the disciples about who people think he is.

See, I think Jesus is using this miracle as a sort of a visual aid for the disciples, a further clue for them. If you're still confused, that's fine. Hopefully it'll start to make more sense as we carry on. You see, in the next part of the story today Jesus is walking with his disciples to another village. And on the way, Jesus asked them the key question that we've seen in this half of Mark's gospel.

In verse 27, he asked the disciples, who do people say I am? And they answer, some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others, one of the prophets. And then Jesus directs the question directly to the disciples. Who do you say, I am. And Peter answers, you are the messiah.

See, Peter finally seems to get it. You see that? And I think this miracle that we've seen is linked to how people have been, or more accurately, haven't been understanding who Jesus is. You see, when the disciples answer that first question about who do people say Jesus is, that matches up with the first part of our miracle. See, the crowds, they had opinions on who Jesus was.

They were aware that what he'd been saying and doing was significant. But they only saw partially. Just like the man in our miracle, he looked. And as bed Ben, thankfully, finally remembered. He didn't say, I can't see anything, but he could see something.

He could see people walking around, and they looked like trees, you see? And then Jesus asked the disciples directly that key question, and that mirrors and matches up with the second part of our miracle. See, Peter has the right answer. Jesus is the messiah.

We were told about the blind man in verse 25 of our passage. Once more, Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And this is exactly what we see with Peter. His eyes have been opened, his heart has been turned towards Jesus to see clearly who he is, that Jesus is the messiah.

I'm sensing a bit of boredom in this response. We need to up the energy of the messiahs.

You see, Jesus, he healed the blind man in two stages to show that everyone, including the disciples, need help to see who Jesus is. He did it to teach that no one on their own can see that Jesus is the messiah. We all need God's help to understand it and to have our eyes opened. And finally, here in Mark's gospel, someone grasped it, someone gets it. And Peter sees that Jesus is the messiah.

And all of this first half of the gospel is leading from that very first verse where Mark told us who Jesus was, to this point where someone finally starts to understand. And from then on, in the gospel, it changes focus. So it's not looking so much then at who Jesus is, but more at why he's come into the world and what it means to follow him. So that's our story. But what does it mean for us today?

What do we take away from this story? It's not just an opportunity to chuck squirty cream in your vicar's face, although that is very enjoyable. Well, firstly, it means for us that anyone can come to know God. Knowing God isn't dependent on how clever we are. It doesn't matter how intelligent we are.

It doesn't matter how much knowledge we have of our bibles, of the history of the Bible, it doesn't matter how much we read. It doesn't matter if we're the cleverest person or the least intelligent. All that matters is God is the one who changes hearts and opens our eyes to see who he is. Secondly, it means we need to pray. We need to pray for ourselves and for others who don't know Jesus, who don't understand who he is.

It means we can't argue or convince people into becoming christians, into becoming part of God's family. But instead, we show them all we can of who Jesus is, and then we pray. We pray for them, that their eyes would be opened. And just as a quick aside, if you're here today and you're someone who would say you don't understand who Jesus is, then we would love to spend time with you, showing you more of who he is and praying for you. So do please grab myself or Ben after the service or who you've come with today.

It would be great to follow that up with you. Well, thirdly, and finally, if we do know and believe that Jesus is the messiah, if there was a competition between sides of the church, this side would definitely be winning. Guys, I'm afraid. But if we see who Jesus is, if he's given us that understanding, then we have so much to be grateful for and so much to enjoy. We can enjoy Jesus for who he is once we've had our eyes opened.

There is so much to enjoy about being a child of God. You see, Jesus is the messiah. Thank you. He is that promised king, the one who was promised long before, who came to save us, who gave up everything to. To become human, to save humanity, to save you and me.

He is the one that we saw. He is the creator, the one who controls the wind and waves, who has the power to keep his people safe. He is the one who has the power over evil, who has the power over death, who has secured that eternal hope for us. And we saw. He is the one who provides for everything we need.

The good shepherd who cares for his people. He is the only one who can cleanse our hearts. He is the only one who can give sight to the blind and show us who he is. How can we not enjoy seeing him for who he is and to long to know him and see him more? We can be incredibly thankful for all that he has done for us.

Because Jesus is the Messiah.

Well, let me pray as we finish. Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for these things. We've seen in Mark's gospel. We thank you so much that you have shown us more of who Jesus is. And we pray for each of us that your spirit would indeed be opening our eyes to see more and more of you, and that we would be eternally thankful and wonderfully grateful that we are in a place where we can enjoy you for all that you are and all you have done for us.

And we pray this in Jesus name. Amen. I think we're going to sing now. We're going to sing a song which follows on from what we've been talking about. It's a song that acts as a prayer where we're asking God to open the eyes of our hearts.

So do stand if.