Introduction: In the last two weeks I read a section of Ellen White’s account of the mob that demanded Jesus’ crucifixion. She said that fallen angels were in the crowd stirring it to demand Jesus’ death.  Has that changed? Have demons retired to live peacefully in Scottsdale, Arizona? Demons obviously are  not people. Are there evil people? Last week we studied (in Mark 5) the story of a man who was filled with demons. Jesus used him as a witness. Does Jesus approach all people the same way? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Seeing Trees

    1. Read Mark 8:22. What do we know about the faith of this blind man? (Not much. He apparently agreed to go, but it does not appear that the blind fellow is the one begging Jesus for healing.)

      1. Why is it necessary to beg Jesus to heal a blind man?

      2. Why did the people want Jesus to “touch” the blind man? (Read Matthew 8:8. The Roman centurion recognized that Jesus could heal at a distance. The people bringing the blind man not only believe that Jesus must be near, but that Jesus must touch him.)

      3. If you were Jesus, would you be a bit insulted by this? You need to be begged to do good, your powers are viewed as limited, and the fellow who needs the miracle is not asking for it!

    2. Read Mark 8:23. Why did Jesus take the man away from his friends? Why take him outside the village? (This is further evidence for the theory that this man was not convinced about Jesus, thus Jesus wanted to spend some individual time with him.)

      1. Notice that Jesus does not just touch the man, but He spit in his eyes and laid His hands on him. Why? Neither of these actions is necessary for Jesus to heal.

      2. Read 2 Kings 5:11. How did Naaman think a proper miraculous healing should take place? (He thought some grand physical actions should accompany a miracle.)

      3. What does Naaman’s reaction teach us about Jesus’ actions here? (Jesus’ actions were intended to build the man’s faith that something was happening to heal his sight.)

    3. Read Mark 8:24. Do you know what this man is talking about? (I do! When I was in college my eyesight was getting worse. At a distance I could only identify my friends by the way they walked. They looked like “trees walking.”)

      1. What does this mean? (Jesus’ miracle is only a partial success.)

        1. Is Jesus learning how to heal? Is His power at reduced levels? Is Jesus’ uncertainty that He could properly heal the reason for taking this fellow away from the others – just in case the healing did not go well? (None of this is consistent with the power of God. This was not one of Jesus’ early miracles.)

        2. What does this tell us about the blind man’s medical history? Was he blind from birth? (No. He knew what trees looked like. He had my experience – friends looked like trees walking when his sight was failing.)

          1. Were Jesus and the blind man out of sight from everyone? (No. There were people nearby.)

    4. Read Mark 8:25. Jesus finally gets it right! Is that a true statement? Does Jesus need practice?

      1. If your answer is “no” (which is my answer), then why does Jesus have a “two-stage” miracle? Why did He need two attempts? (By process of elimination, if this has nothing to do with the power of Jesus, then it has to do with the faith of the blind man. We now have a series of “clues” that the blind man needed encouragement. He needed for his faith to grow.)

      2. Since the goal of this study is to help us see through the eyes of Jesus, what lesson do we learn from this story? (Each person needs an individual approach.)

        1. Was Jesus concerned about His own reputation in creating an individual approach for this man? (No. But, this might be why Jesus took this man away from the group – so the group would not come to the wrong conclusion about Jesus.)

        2. If wrong conclusions are an issue, why is this two-stage miracle in the Bible? (So we can dig for the true message.)

    5. Read Mark 8:26. Why? What about the friends who brought this man to Jesus? (This raises an alternative explanation for why Jesus brought the man from the crowd to perform this miracle.)

      1. Could this have something to do with the man’s growing faith in Jesus?  Is it possible that Jesus wanted the man to spend some quiet time to consider all that had happened to him?

  2. Hard Answers

    1. Read Mark 12:18-19. The story that follows is that seven brothers were married, in turn, to the same woman. Why do you think the Sadducees asked Jesus this question?

      1. Why does the Bible tell us the views of the Sadducees on the resurrection? (The point is that the Sadducees are not truly looking for information, they seek to entrap Jesus.)

      2. We will see that Jesus answers this question. Why did He answer, and why is this in the Bible? (The question, the answer, and the recording are for the crowd – which now includes you and me.)

    2. Read Mark 12:23-24. How would you characterize Jesus’ response? Is it tough? Is it insulting? (It is both tough and insulting, especially when you consider that it was directed to religious leaders who claimed to know the Bible.)

      1. What does this teach us about seeing people through Jesus’ eyes? Does Jesus want the crowd to see His tough side? (This shows that Jesus responds differently to different people. Jesus’ response to this trap is much different than His response to those who are seeking truth.)

    3. Read Mark 12:25. Is this information in the Old Testament? Is marriage in heaven discussed? (The Sadducees only believed in the first five books of the Old Testament. I don’t believe this is discussed anywhere in the Old Testament.)

      1. Is Jesus being unfair to say their question shows they don’t know the Scriptures?

    4. Read Mark 12:26-27 and Exodus 3:6. Explain Jesus’ answer and whether He is being fair to the Sadducees? (The issue is not marriage in heaven, it is the resurrection. Jesus tells them their failure to understand Exodus 3:6 is the reason they are wrong about the resurrection.)

      1. Does this mean that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive today? (The better answer is that God is not leaving His people to eternal death. He will resurrect them to eternal life. Which, of course, is central to Jesus’ mission.)

  3. Jesus’ Eyes Today

    1. Read Acts 1:8. This is the very last thing Jesus said before being taken to heaven. What is necessary for us to be proper witnesses? (The power of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. Consider two ways of approaching our topic. One way is to study (as we have been) how Jesus reacted to others so that we can learn to look at others the way He did. The other way is to have the Holy Spirit inspire our mind to see others as Jesus did. Which way seems most effective? Are they mutually exclusive?

    2. Let’s look at what triggered Jesus’ answer. Read Acts 1:6. How would you feel if you were Jesus and this is your last conversation? (I would be very upset that the disciples still did not understand my mission.)

    3. Read Acts 1:7. What kind of answer does Jesus give them?  What does this teach us about witnessing and looking at others through Jesus’ eyes? (Jesus did not give them a tough answer. He did not ask them why they had not been listening. Instead He promised them the power of the Holy Spirit.)

    4. Look again at Acts 1:8. What is Jesus’ witnessing goal for us? (Start local and go “to the end of the earth.”)

    5. Friend, the power of the Holy Spirit is essential to witnessing. Will you ask for the Holy Spirit in power to help you see others and the mission through Jesus’ eyes?

  4. Next week: Prayer Power: Interceding for Others.