“And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again, He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” – Mark 8:22-26 (NASB)
I welcome you to the second half of 2020, the Year of The Great Turnaround. A lot has taken place in the past six months; the most prominent being the global devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. That crisis has resulted in over 100,000 deaths in America alone; added to which is the blow to businesses and the economy. Then, there came the effects of blatant racism and the inordinate killings of blacks by bad policemen, which resulted in protests in many countries beyond the United States. The tipping point seemed to have been George Floyd’s painful and excruciating death. One great news is that June was the month of the Fullness of Time, in which we experienced recovery and restoration and the first ever RCCG North America Operations Virtual Convention. Glory to God! Now I perceive God is saying we all need a second touch for the second half of 2020. May we all receive 20/20, clear vision, for 2020 in our lives, homes, and families in Jesus’ name. May ministries and churches feel the heartbeat of Jesus for people and the community we live in and see each other better with the lens of God’s love in this second half of 2020.
This month’s text deals with a miracle that only the Gospel of Mark records for us. In some ways it is similar with other miracles that Jesus performed, but in other ways it is not. It is the first and only record of a second touch from the LORD being required for a healing; it was unprecedented! One thing is clear – the Master does nothing aimlessly, but always has a purpose and reason for His actions. Whether we fully understand them or not does not alter the fact that He does have a purpose for everything He does. May God purpose for your life be made clear this month in Jesus’ name!
For us to do justice to this month’s topic, certain words need to be defined:
Unprecedented: means unparalleled, unheard of, unusual, novel, extraordinary, amazing, remarkable, outstanding, fantastic, marvelous, abnormal, etc.
Touch: A touch is one of the five senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing) God gave to man to live in harmony with nature and nurture.
Statistics tells us that “developmental delay is often seen in children receiving inadequate or inappropriate sensory stimulation. For example, orphaned infants exposed to the bleakest of conditions in eastern European institutions exhibited impaired growth and cognitive development, as well as an elevated incidence of serious infections and attachment disorders.” But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14). Jesus allowed the little children to come to Him for a touch of love.
There are steps that we need to take for God to do what He needs to do in our lives as He did with the man in Mark 8. There are three subheading we need to understand about the story of the blind man that we can relate to in our lives as we embark on the second half of 2020.
- WE MUST LEARN TO GO TO BETHESDA (Mark 8:22)
Bethesda speaks of the church. It is a place of fish, bread, abundance, and fruitfulness. To have a clear vision for our lives, we need to spend more time in church.
- “…they bring a blind man…”
- People MUST be brought to Jesus.
- It is the responsibility of believers to bring others to Christ.
- “…and besought Him to touch him.“
- Only the touch of the Master’s hand can take away that blindness.
- But there was a problem in their thinking.
- They had a preconceived idea about how Jesus would heal him (Matthew 13:58)
- In doing so they were limiting Jesus to work only in the way that they had expected Him to work.
- We often make that same mistake.
- LET JESUS PULL YOU AWAY FROM THE CROWD (Mark 8:23 – “He brought him out of the village…”)
Why would Jesus take the man by the hand and lead him out of Bethesda? The problem is the crowd; the crowd can influence your life. The crowd has a way of influencing our decisions and our vision of what God wants us to accomplish in 2020. There are too many voices of the crowd, speaking in our ears, making it increasingly difficult to discern the voice of God. We may need to disengage from the crowd – friends, some close friends and voices of the crowd – to hear the voice of the Master clearly.
- “And he took…”
- Jesus dealt with him one on one.
- Jesus touched, but the man was not healed with just one touch.
- Imagine the scene of Jesus leading this blind man by the hand, until they had left the city.
- RELATIONSHIP, NOT RELIGION, RESTORES VISION: Mark 8:23
Jesus took this man out of the crowd, walked him out of town, spit on his face and put his hands on his face. Mark 8:23 (NASB) says, “Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” Jesus spat on his face and touched him.” (Many of us would have lost our healing right there – spitting on our face?)
- The spit on the face:
- In the spit are the DNA, RNA, and the genetic codes of Jesus same as in the Blood of Jesus. It was not yet time for Jesus to shed His blood, so the spit was as His Blood – to wash this man’s sins, wash away the matter in his eyes and cleanse his past so he can have a clear vision for his life.
- The touch of Jesus (Look at the acronym – T.O.U.C.H):
- T-ransforms “…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- The touch of God brings forgiveness of sins to those who repent and believe. It brings cleansing and power to those who yield themselves totally to God.
- O-rdains “…I have… ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit…” (John 15:16).
- The touch of God ordains all Christians into God’s service. Everyone can share something for God – a smile, a prayer, a helping hand.
- U-nifies “…how good … it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1).
- The touch of God brings harmony and love. It enables us to accomplish God’s work in “the unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:2,3).
- C-onquers “…we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
- The touch of God gives us courage to conquer. Christ furnishes the strength which enables us to ‘keep on keeping on’ (Philippians 4:13).
- H-eals “And Jesus put forth His hand and touched him…” (Matthew 8:3).
c. “…He asked him if he saw aught.”
- Jesus asked him if he could see anything. Why did Jesus ask this question? He knew the answer.
- When God asks questions such as this it is usually for the benefit of others.
- He touched him again and the man saw clearly.
- The question is why the second touch?
- No shame in been touched the second time.
- I need Jesus every day, not just on Sunday morning, but also on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The first touch is just the beginning of the journey – “I see men as trees, walking” (Mark 8:22-26). In other words, I am better than I was. I can see something, but I cannot quite discern what it is.
- The second touch: Jesus touched the man again. In every situation, Jesus, the ultimate Teacher, has a lesson for you and me today: His mental eye opened. It cleared his perceptions, removing limitations, setting him free to become the man God called him to be. With the second touch, we start to see the unseen, do the impossible, and hear the unheard.
- We find this also true in the story of Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14. It took two separate pronouncements by Ezekiel to transform so many dried out and dismembered skeletons a whole valley-full into a living, breathing mighty army. The first pronouncement transformed the skeletons into whole human bodies again. The second pronouncement brought back life into them transforming them into a formidable army.
- Relationship starts with honesty: This man was honest with himself and Jesus, he admitted, I cannot see clearly. He was brutally honest.
- Can you be honest with God and yourself, saying Jesus, I need another touch, Jesus touch me one more time – touch my head, touch my heart, touch my marriage, touch my vision, touch my church again?
Conclusion: What makes something valuable? Value is really the price that you are willing to pay to obtain something. Auctions work on this principle. The person who is willing to pay the most for the item, gets it. I want to share with you a poem by Myra Brooks Welch that really spoke to me and highlights this concept of value. In summary, there was an old violin that had its best years in the very distant past but was entered into an auction. The auctioneer did not want to be bothered with the violin but started the very low bidding on it with barely an interest from the audience. An old man stepped forward from the back of the room and picking up the violin, dust it off, tuned it, and played rapturous melody on it to the utter amazement of all in the room. The bedazzled auctioneer restarted the bidding with great respect and at an astronomically higher asking price than before with avid interest from the audience. The question was asked as to what changed the worth of the violin, and the only answer provided was, “The touch of the Master’s Hand.”
Humanity has a Divine value placed on it. Let us never forget this. Let us learn our true value and never look down on ourselves or anyone else but look to Jesus Who is our Savior, the Author and Finisher of our faith!
- Thank Him, appreciate Him, eulogize Him for He Is worthy to be praised. Psalms 18:3 says, “I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Thank Him for being a prayer-answering and a covenant-keeping God.
- The man that receives the double touch will go home singing and jumping and shouting praise the Lord. Please, in this 7th month, let us spend quality time thanking, singing, jumping, and praising God.
- Father, I need the touch of transformation similar to what you did to Saul on the road to Damascus, a touch of power like you did for Peter, who preached and 3,000 were saved, a touch of cleansing (Isaiah 6:7), a touch of healing (Mark 8:14-15; Mark 7:33, Matthew 9:27-29). Please, LORD, touch me.
- Ezekiel 37: 1 – “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.” Father, as you touched Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, touch me to do the impossible, hear the inaudible and see the invincible in Jesus’ mighty Name!
- Father, I want that touch, I need that touch, the touch of glory, to be used to impact the world for you. O for the touch of God! If it comes with fire, so be it. If it comes with water so be it. If it comes with wind, let it come, O God. If it comes with thunder and lightning, let us bow before it, just touch me, O LORD.
- We reject Satanic or demonic touches in the mighty Name of Jesus. 1 John 5:18 says, “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” We stand against Satan and his demons touching those we love, in Jesus’ Name!
- SING: Come by fire, come by sword/3x fight my battles for me; Hallelujah, etc.
- Until there was a visitation with superior power from above, Peter and the disciples were in hiding. Power came down on Pentecost on the followers of Jesus and carried them to their next level. Let your fire fall, just like the day of Pentecost as of cloven tongues of fire. Please come down and touch us with Your power.
- O thou everlasting chain used to tie my destiny down at a spot in Bethesda in the spirit realm, scatter now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- Power for my next level of intimate work with the Master, fall upon me now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- O thou my destiny, continue to ascend the ladder of life as from today and don’t stop till Jesus returns, in Jesus’ Name.
- O God, release fresh oil for the next level of the second, third, fourth, fifth touch upon my life every day as from today, in Jesus’ Name.
- Begin to thank God for answered prayers