Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "Signs and Sight"
Throughout the Gospel of Mark, there has been the recurring theme of spiritual blindness and the need for spiritual sight (cf. 4:12).Here in 8:10-26 there is another “divine reprise” portraying this theme of blindness. In this passage we see three groups of people who are, in some sense, “blind” and in need of spiritual sight that only Jesus can provide. The religious leaders (in 8:11-13), the disciples (in 8:14-21), and the blind man (in 8:22-26) are all portrayed with the same need: spiritual sight amidst their blindness. This is a miracle only Jesus, the Messiah, can give.
1. Blind religious leaders (8:11-13)
As antagonists, the religious leaders try to test Jesus, by requesting a sign from heaven. This is an arrogant request for a celestial phenomenon that “proves” his authority. They have rejected the evidence of Jesus’ authority shown previously through his miracles and teachings. The problem was not that Jesus did not “prove” his authority or power; rather, the problem was their hardness of heart and unbelief.
2. Blindness of the disciples (8:14-21)
The disciples are warned about the blindness of religious leaders. Jesus advises the disciples to be careful of the “leaven” (i.e., corruption) of the Pharisees and Herod. However, the disciples misunderstand Jesus' reference, thinking that he was referring to the fact that they had forgotten the left over bread. They are therefore confronted for their spiritual blindness and deafness. The disciples—who have traveled and witnessed the miracles and teaching of Jesus—still do not see the profundity of God’s coming Kingdom in the person and work of Jesus as the Messiah.
3. Blindness of the man (8:22-26)
The miracle of the healing of the blind man is strategically placed here in the narrative. It shows a descriptive picture of what the disciples and religious leaders need; namely, spiritual sight from their spiritual blindness, and it will only come through a miracle from the Messiah Jesus (cf. Isa 35:5-6).
A. Spiritual sight is a gift from God and should cause us to be grateful.
B. We should have compassion for those who do not yet see, but are still blind spiritually to the gospel of Christ.
1. C.J. reminded us that spiritual sight is a gift of God that should cause our hearts to fill with gratefulness. Take some time to recount God’s grace in your life. How were you blind, and yet by God’s grace, how do you now see? How has this message helped you to praise God for his work in your life?
2. C.J. showed us that there are three groups in this passage that are all portrayed, in some sense, to be spiritually blind: (1) the antagonists against Jesus who seek for him to “prove” his authority, (2) his disciples who still misunderstand the identity of Jesus, and (3) the man in need of healing. Do you know of someone who is antagonistic to the gospel? How can you prayerfully reach out to them this week? Do you have a brother or sister in Christ that you could encourage this week? Is there someone in your sphere of influence (e.g., co-worker, friend/family) that is in need of spiritual sight? How can you reach out to them this week?
3. This passage portrays Jesus as the coming Messiah, who brings God’s kingdom to earth. How does this increase your faith in him? How does this increase your faith in God’s work in the world?
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