Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXX: God's Encouraging Program When His People Are Spiritually Blind
(Mark 8:10-30)
  1. Introduction
    1. When the gospel is proclaimed to the lost community, and that community does not seem to respond, it can be discouraging. What can be even more discouraging is the spiritual blindness and carnality in those who name the name of Christ , in those who should know better!
    2. In the case of people who have accepted Christ but are still spiritually dull, God has some direction and encouragement for us from Mark 8:10-30:
  2. God's Encouraging Program When His People Are Spiritually Blind, Mark 8:10-30.
    1. When Jesus was confronted with the deep darkness of the Pharisees, He was deeply bothered, and withdrew from ministry to them, Mark 8:10-13:
      1. When Jesus once landed on the shore by boat, some Pharisees confronted Him, asking for a sure sign of His Messianic credentials, Mk. 8:10-11 with Mtt. 16:1-4.
      2. Deeply bothered by the fact that these men still did not see Him as Messiah though He had performed the signs predicted of Messiah, Jesus complained out loud, wondering why this generation of witnesses of His miracles still needed another sign, Mk. 8:12a.
      3. He refused to give an unusual sign, other than His death and resurrection to come (Mtt. 16:4b), so he got back into the boat and left the Pharisees on the shore, Mk. 8:13.
    2. Following this encounter, and warning the disciples about the growing apostasy around them, Jesus was confronted by the discouraging spiritual dullness and blindness in His own disciples, Mk. 8:14-21:
      1. Jesus sought to warn His disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the materialism of the Herodians, telling them to avoid this spiritual "leaven" around them, Mk. 8:15.
      2. Since the disciples had forgotten to take bread along, they thought Jesus meant literal leaven in literal bread, and assumed that He didn't want them to buy bread from these parties, Mk. 8:14,16.
      3. When Jesus knew this is what they reasoned, He chided their spiritual dullness, Mk. 8:17-21:
        1. Jesus chided the disciples' conclusion that He was warning them about buying bread, for He'd already twice proved He would supply their food through the feedings of the 5,000 and 4,000, 8:17-20.
        2. He thus asked them why they did not yet understand, stating that they were acting like people with hardened spiritual senses, Mk. 8:21 with 8:17b.
    3. In an illustration of this dullness in the disciples, Jesus performed a most unusual miracle, 8:22-26:
      1. Immediately after this verbal interchange with His disciples, Jesus healed a blind man in stages, 8:22-25:
        1. In the only time a recorded miracle of Christ's was done in stages, Jesus first attempt at healing a blind man was followed by His asking the patient if he was healed, Mk. 8:22-23. He intentionally had performed a miracle only halfway as the man was asked this question.
        2. The man reported accordingly that he could see people, but only in a blur, Mk. 8:24.
        3. Jesus then performed another stage of the miracle until the man could see clearly, Mk. 8:25.
      2. In so doing in the context, Jesus was demonstrating the two different levels of spiritual "sight" He had just encountered: (a) The Pharisees were spiritually totally blind in their lost condition, and Jesus refused even to deal with th em in their total hardness; (b) conversely, the disciples followed Jesus but had spiritual dullness in their understanding, and yet needed more discipling to see His will clearly. (c) However, in grace, Jesus was going to work with them until they came around, and He continued working with the partially seeing man until his sight was fully restored, Mk. 8:25.
    4. In the very next section of Scripture, Jesus asks His identify and Peter responds with his sterling confession of faith in Christ's Messiahship, Mk. 8:27-29. Then, as He had directed the healed blind man in Mk. 8:26, Jesus told the di sciples not to broadcast His Messianic credentials to a blind Israel, Mk. 8:30.
Lesson: (1) If people have rejected Christ and still demand "proofs" of the truth, God is disposed to avoid working with them altogether. (2) However, if people have responded to some degree, even if they are inexcusably spiritually dull, God will continue working with them until they fully see! Thus, though some cannot be budge d, never give up working with those who have partially come around!