"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 31
A Second Touch
Read: Mark 8:22-26
Text: (Mark 8:25 KJV) After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
Theme: Some people need a second touch, and Jesus provides it.
Here we have another miracle that is found only in Mark's gospel.
So many questions come up when we study this passage, and so many interesting thoughts come to my mind.
QUESTION - Before I share my thoughts with you this morning, though, I wonder what questions and thoughts are stirred in your mind? Let's list them on the white board. What questions does this miracle of healing raise in your mind?
People MUST be brought to Jesus. … and yet, why did they bring him? Did he want to come? Were they just miracle seekers?
Lost people are blind to their need. … and yet, in this man's case, was he born blind? If so, how did he know what a tree looks like?
Only the touch of the master's hand can take away that blindness. … and yet, this request seems to indicate that the people had a preconceived idea about how Jesus would heal him. Did Jesus truly need to touch him in order to heal him? We know not. Did they think so, though?
Jesus dealt with him one on one. Wow. Imagine the scene of Jesus leading this man by the hand, picking their way through the obstacles and twists and turns, until they had left the city. What was that time like? What did they talk about? Did they talk at all?
WHY did Jesus ask this question? He knew the answer.
Had he seen before? Why did he not see clearly the first time?
Whey did Jesus say these things? Was it because they were in Bethsaida, and Bethsaida was to receive no further evidence of the truth?
All of these are interesting thoughts. However, there is one central and wonderful truth that arises from this passage: Some people need a second touch, and Jesus provides it.
I. Only one touch is needed for salvation.
(John 3:36 KJV) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
(John 5:24 KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
(Acts 16:31 KJV) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
ILLUS. The nobleman whose son was healed the moment he believed. (READ John 5:46-53)
ILLUS. The thief on the cross. (Luke 23:43 KJV) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
ILLUS. Zaccheus (Luke 19:9 KJV) And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house…
II. Only one touch is needed for restoration.
(1 Cor 11:31 KJV) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
ILLUS. - Prodigal son (READ Luke 15:17-20, especially vs. 20)
QUOTE - "No matter how many steps backward you have taken as a Christian, it is only one step back!"
QUESTION - With these fundamental concepts firmly in our mind (Only one touch is needed to be saved, and only one touch is needed to be forgiven / restored in our relationship to Christ.), we must ask ourselves, IS THIS OUR EXPERIENCE? When you got saved, was it an instantaneous thing (or was it more of a process)? How do you reconcile your experience with the above two fundamental concepts?
QUESTION - When you sin, and confess your sin to Christ, is it your experience that you are cleansed and forgiven instantly? (Or do you sometimes find yourselves asking for forgiveness over and over?) How do you reconcile your experience with the above two fundamental concepts?
III. Sometimes, though, the saints need a second touch.
A. The disciples did. (cf. Vs. 18)
QUESTION - Is it possible that Jesus was using this miracle as a teaching miracle, similar to the way the 2 miraculous feedings were used to teach the disciples the truth of Jesus' ability to provide their needs? If so, what was He teaching?
ANSWER - Possibly He was using this miracle to reinforce what He had just taught them in vss. 13-21? These disciples needed to be told over and over (second touch)?
B. Paul warned many would need it.
(2 Tim 4:2 KJV) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
C. Jesus experienced it often.
(Mark 9:19 KJV) He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
(Luke 18:8 KJV) I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
(John 14:9 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
D. It is never truly a good thing.
(Romans 14:23 KJV) … for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
BUT - It is a normal manifestation of our humanity.
QUOTE - (Dr. Tom Malone, Sr.) "We dwell in enfeebled bodies."
(Mark 9:24 KJV) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
E. Thank God, Jesus gives another chance to foolish and faithless believers!
IV. Sometimes the sinner needs a second touch.
A. This man did.
1. He didn't come by himself, but was brought by friends. (Perhaps he didn't really believe or understand?)
QUESTION - If he did not come in faith, but was just brought by a group of miracle-seekers, then how do you explain his healing? Did he demonstrate faith?
ANSWER - Perhaps his faith grew upon meeting and experiencing Jesus Christ!
2. Contrast Bartimaeus (who called out to Jesus all by himself)
(Mark 10:46-47 KJV) And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.
(John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
3. Once he got a glimpse, though, he wanted more!
B. Some people need to hear it again and again and again!
QUOTE (Elmer Towns) - "Nobody makes a decision on the first visit, they usually require three or four before they make up their mind for Christ."
QUOTE (J. David Hoke) - "Trusting Jesus more generally means getting to know Him better. And that is something which takes time. And sometimes we need a second touch from Jesus in order to clearly see what He can do in our lives. That is precisely what this blind man needed. And I know from personal experience that I need it many times as well. In fact, sometimes I need a third touch and a fourth touch and a fifth touch. If the truth were known, sometimes after the thousandth touch I still need another. But thank God He is willing to give us what we need. If we need a second touch, then He is the God of the second touch."
C. That is why the believers need to just keep slinging seed!
QUESTION - Do we sometimes get discouraged when people don't respond to the gospel message as quickly as we think they should?
QUESTION - Does this miracle provide any encouragement for this?
1. Not growing weary…
2. Leaving the results (and the method) to God…
NOTE - Not everybody is going to experience salvation exactly like you did!
QUESTION - What do you think of the following quote?
QUOTE (J. David Hoke) - "We know that Jesus healed at least three blind men differently. In one case, He touched the blind man and he was healed. In a second, he spit on the ground and made mud and put the mud on the blind man's eyes and he was healed. In this case, he spit directly into the blind man's eyes and he was healed. Now suppose these three blind men met one day and began comparing notes. If they were like some Christians are today, their sharing would degenerate into an argument over the proper method of being healed from blindness. And because each had experienced a different method, they would probably be polarized into three distinct sects. Out of that meeting would become the "touchites," the "mudites," and the "spitites." And three new movements would be born. But they would miss the point, wouldn't they. Sometimes we miss the point on equally trivial grounds."
EVERYBODY IS SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, but the method by which they come to that faith is not always exactly the same. For some it is a nearly instantaneous thing. For others (like the blind man here), it is more of a process.
D. There is a limit to the "second touch," though.
QUESTION - What is there in this passage that seems to teach that there is a limit to "the second touch?"
ANSWER - Christ's unwillingness to share any further evidence with Bethsaida… leading the man out of the town, and commanding him to not re-enter the town.
QUESTION - What distinguishes the person to whom Jesus is willing to provide the second touch (or third touch, or fourth touch, or thousandth touch) from the person to whom Jesus is unwilling to provide anything further?
ANSWER - FAITH - All is of faith. These people from Bethsaida were apparently not coming in faith, but merely as spectators… miracle seekers… wanting to be entertained. ) (Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
THERE IS A LIMIT:
(Gen 6:3 KJV) And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
(Prov 29:1 KJV) He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
(2 Th 2:11-12 KJV) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
NOTE - This was Bethsaida! (READ Matthew 11:21-22)
ILLUS. Herod silenced John the Baptist, and then when he wanted to hear from Jesus:
(Luke 23:8-9 KJV) And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
Have you experienced the touch of the Master?
Have you given up on that one who never seems to respond?
Remember that when Jesus encouraged us "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you," that He was literally saying, "KEEP ASKING, KEEP SEEKING, KEEP KNOCKING!"
If you need another touch from Jesus, keep coming! He is willing to provide that second touch (and the third, and the fourth, and the thousandth) to all those who come in faith.
(Mark 8:25 KJV) After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
Some people need a second touch, and Jesus provides it.
Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.