Our symbol this week is blindness and how He keeps healing it.
We will see how faith leads to seeing and how a lack of faith leads to blindness. We will also study the famous “second touch” of Jesus on a blind man, for at the first touch he only saw
“men as trees walking.”
This is so very applicable to us, for often we see people as trees walking before we allow Jesus to help us see as He does. Whenever I take a spiritual gift test, “mercy” is at the bottom, so to help me, God gave me a husband, and continues to give me friends with the gift of mercy.
When Steve and I adopted 5- year- old Annie, our then 11-year-old Sally went into a deep depression, feeling displaced and unloved. She couldn’t sleep, was losing weight, and weeping all the time. We were showering love on her so I was so frustrated. I told my husband:
“Sally should know how much we love her and snap out of this.”
I needed a second touch from Jesus to really see her clearly.
Steve, a physician, one personally acquainted with clinical depression, and strong in the gift of mercy, said: “Would you tell someone who had the flu to snap out of it? Depression is like that.”
I was convicted. When I responded to Sally with compassion and helped her get help, the depression began to lift. Then she began to see her sister with compassion, and they began to bond. Before Sally left for college 7 years later, Annie crawled up into her bunk weeping, saying, “You are my best friend.” When we ask the Lord for a second touch, we are asking Him to remove the cataracts of sin from our eyes so that we might see others as He does, and love as He does.
I was recently blessed with time in Jacksonville with my friends Ann and Sylvia, who always help me see more. Ann is one who is so good at recording God’s mercies to us so that we remember anew what the Almighty can do.
Both of these very stylish friends like to take me shopping, saying kindly that my wardrobe is “a little tired.” (I’m not a good shopper: worried about my weight, worried about money, and worried about my frequent buyers’ regret. I just don’t have style sense!)
Sylvia insisted on taking me to Talbots. “They are having their 70% off sale!”
When at the counter, completing the purchase, I was eager to get on to the next thing, but Sylvia was drawing the sales-lady out with caring questions. I was shuffling my feet, thinking the conversation was not about things of eternal significance, so wanting us to move on.
(When the sales-lady mailed my clothes to Wisconsin, she put in a note about how much she particularly enjoyed waiting on us. I thought, Not me! Sylvia was the conduit of God’s love, seeing her as God does.)
I need a second touch, often several times a day, to see others not as trees walking, but as people with hurts and needs whom the Lord loves.
Highlight from Last Week (WOW!)
One of the beauties of the body of Christ is that we can help one another see more clearly. Our own Laura-Dancer often initiates honest discussions by being honest herself. Last week she lamented that she often struggled with feeling loved by the Lord. Sharon responded:
Laura, I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability…I get caught up in just answering these questions according to what I’ve been told all my life and your responses have really been thought through. I hope I can do that more.
Then Diane mentioned struggling with feeling loved, Lizzy mentioned sensing that deep stain…
I think this is where we often need “a second touch,” to truly believe, in faith, that we are loved, no matter what. Since the default mode of the human heart is works righteousness, we often feel we have lost his love when we don’t measure up, and need to be reminded once again that we can never lose His love. Dawn reminded us of the truth we must constantly hold in our hearts:
I know that God loves me because he conquered death for me and willingly bore all of my sins.
But if He loves us, might that mean He is not disappointed in us? One idea I introduced was that since disappointment has to do with expectations that are not met, and because He knows already knows all our thoughts and what is in man (John 2:24), that disappointment might not be what He feels. But Diane challenged me to look at the context of that of John 2:24, and He does seem to be addressing unbelievers rather than believers. She mentioned Him chastising the disciples with “Oh ye of little faith” — that sounds like more than disappointment. And then I thought of the whole panorama of Hosea, and how sin is like adultery, breaking His heart. Surely that is disappointment! So, I would say, He always loves us, but can still be disappointed in our choices, and it often our lack of faith and lack of trust in His love that causes us to choose to run to our idols.
I love it when you challenge me and cause me to ponder — that you are like the Bereans, who search the Scripture. We all see through a glass darkly and need one another to give light.
I do know with absolute certainty that we can do nothing to earn or lose His love. In response to this healthy discussion, Lizzy posted this on our facebook page:
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Can you share one way Jesus has healed you in an area of spiritual blindness?
Monday: A Gentile Woman Approaches Jesus
3. Read Mark 7:24-30
A. Summarize what happens in this passage.
B. What do you see in this woman that the Pharisees and teachers of the law lacked?
4. Read Chapter 8 in King’s Cross, up to “Accepting the Challenge.” Share your notes and comments.
Tuesday: A Gentile Woman is the First to “Get” A Parable
Here, in Mark, right after Mark has told of the blindness of the Israelite teachers of the law, comes a Gentile woman begging Jesus for help. At first it seems He treats her almost disrespectfully, but instead He is giving her a parable. He has been called to go to the Jews, even though they are not understanding Him. She does not give up, but pleads with Jesus using the very parable He has given her, showing she understands. He commends her reply of faith and heals her daughter.
5. Read Mark 7:24-30 again, only this time, out loud, with expression. If you see anything new, share.
6. Read “Accepting the Challenge” in Chapter 8 of King’s Cross and share your notes and comments.
7. Do you see a link between faith and “seeing” here? How might you apply this?
8.This woman did not give up, and we must not give up in prayer. Perhaps there is
something you have asked for a long time, but it has not been given. Persist — either
privately or here, in prayer.
Wednesday: The Deaf Hear and The Mute Speak
9. What did Isaiah prophesy the Messiah would do in Isaiah 35:5-6?
10. Read Mark 7:31-37
A. Describe what happened here, noting details.
B. How does this reaction of Jesus contrast to His reaction to the Phoenician woman?
11. Read “Accepting the Gift” in Chapter 8 of King’s Cross and share your notes and comments.
Thursday: Ponder Anew What The Almighty Can Do
Now we return to the seeming blindness of Jesus disciples. It hasn’t been very long since He fed 5,000, but now, faced with 4,000 hungry people, the disciples say: “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” They forget what He has done, and so do we. We must ponder anew what He can do.
12. Read Mark 8:1-21.
A. What happens here?
B. What does Jesus ask the disciples in Mark 8:18b?
13. Share three ways God had met you recently, so as to fan the embers of your faith.
Friday: We Need A Second Touch To See Clearly
14. Read Mark 8:22-26 and share what happens here.
15. What do you think the second touch is meant to teach us?
16. Are you upset with anyone? Are you stuck in a sin? Ask God for a second touch to
help you see clearly. Be alert for answers.
17. What will you remember from this week and why? Is there an area God is at work in your life?