Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cover to Cover:How well do you see?

I don't know where to begin. (I think I'll be saying this a lot in the NT.) One of the beautiful things about the NT is how familiar it is. And yet, in spite of reading the very familiar passages, God has hidden so many gems for my heart this time around as well.

I woke up this morning thinking about the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida. When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25 For some reason, the story just captured my attention. I guess it appears to be a story of partial then total healing. Which didn't make sense to me at first. I mean, Jesus healed everyone else completely. Why did it take this man two tries before he could see clearly? Which may have been why I was pondering this story days later. But this morning, the light dawned. Kind of like the blind man's sight. How many times am I blinded to the truth of scripture? Then, gradually, the truth reveals itself...until finally I can see His intent. Matthew Henry puts it this way: The cure was wrought gradually, which was not usual in our Lord's miracles. Christ showed in what method those commonly are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind. At first, their knowledge is confused; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly.
***
I like to check out different translations to see how things are worded. While I would never use the Message for scripture memorization, I often love how things are worded there. This passage is no exception: Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don't let go. This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. John 6:37, 39
First the promise that He holds on and never lets go, then the promise that at the wrap up of time we will be put together, upright and whole. I'm telling you, these are some promises that I've needed to hear lately. Especially the promise that no matter how mixed up things might seem at the moment, some day I will be upright and whole. Praise Jesus!
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Do you ever stop and think how many times certain things are mentioned in scripture. When I saw this again this week, I began to wonder how much clearer Someone might be trying to make the point to me. But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' Matthew 15:18 I think this verse is tied together with Mark 8:15: Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod." Just as good things permeate lives like yeast in flour (Matthew 13:33), so can the taint of evil work it's way through our lives, affecting all that we touch.
***
I have to confess something at this point. (Those that know me well will be nodding their heads at this next part.) As we travel closer to Jerusalem and Jesus's Crucifixion, I will have a difficult time reading and processing these passages. I hate knowing that He is going to suffer and die. Even though I know He is going to rise again and it is all a necessary part of God's plan. It hurts my heart. (Just ask me about how much trouble I had doing the homework in Jesus the One and Only during crucifixion week.) Anyway, maybe that's why this part caught my eye. As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51 Did you see it? He resolutely set out. I think too often we think this was easy for Him. He was obedient to His Father's Will and He knew all along what the big picture was. So surely He marched right into Jerusalem to carry out God's Will, right? Well, yes, He did. But I don't think it was easy. He knew it was necessary. The dictionary says resolutely means to be firmly resolved or determined, to be set in purpose. The Message says: he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. For some reason, those six little words in the NIV make me even more grateful and aware of the sacrifice that He made for me.
***
There's so much more to this weeks reading. We could talk about Mary and Martha, the six woes, the parable of the rich fool (a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions), the sending out of the seventy two...oh, how rich the Word is. However, this post is already terribly wordy and slightly scattered. Please join Bev and the gang and read coherent thoughts on things that I missed. You'll be blessed! (and thanks for your patience with my wordiness. If that's a word.)

5 comments:

annie's eyes said...

"gathered his courage and steeled himself"... resolutely...I had an impending dread as I read those words this week. He went willingly, but fully as man with fear. Since you did Jesus the One and Only, you may remember as she described those moments after dinner as Jesus walked into the Garden of Gethsemene and he and his disciples were probably singing, Psalm 100, according to Jewish Passover tradition. "This is the day that the Lord hath made. I WILL rejoice." Rejoice! for the Day He'd known since the beginning of time. It slays me every time I think about it. Like you said these NT words make me love him even more. Such a tender hearted post! Love, Annette

Ang baylis said...

When He partially healed the mans sight it reminded me of when recently I have been trying to get used to my new contacts. I have mono vision contacts. One is meant for distance and one for close up. It took me the longest time to get my brain to put them both together to see clearly. A lot of my time was spent in a blur and it honestly wasn't even safe for me to drive. Sometimes (actually most of the time) I want a quick fix, but God is in control! On another note, I never really thought about whether it was hard or easy for Him to carry out God's will. Thank you for pointing that out. I must have missed it. It makes me more grateful today! Thanks for this wonderful post!
Love you,
Angie xoxo

Nise' said...

I am so in awe of how well He knows me and knows EXACTLY how I need a word from Him. The wording of The Message "I hold on and don't let go" gives me chills, Thank you Lord! Were you able to watch The Passion of The Christ movie?

Abbasgirl said...

He doesn't let go...so much comfort in those words. I remember the 1st time as an adult I read the words that Jesus prayed twice for the blind man, it dawned on me it was ok, my faith was strong if I prayed more than once over an issue or person.

Love, Annette

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