Healed in Stages to See More Clearly (Mark Sermon 37)
January 15, 2023 | Andy Davis
A two-step miracle of healing by Jesus gives us a picture of how our salvation also happens in stages.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
I. An Unusual Miracle
Turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 8. As we resume our study in this incredible and glorious Gospel of Mark, we come this morning to a truly unusual miracle, a remarkable miracle. All of the miracles are remarkable, but this one's unique in some incredible ways. In this miracle account, Jesus's power seems to flicker a bit, I guess, I don't know how we would say it —that it seemed like it didn't work the first time. Do you think that Jesus is just giving us an example of perseverance? “If at first you don't succeed, try again.” That is not what's going on here, but it's strange for Jesus to have to circle back and to heal this man, it seems a second time, like somehow Jesus' power had been inadequate or somehow seemed to fail.
This is especially acute when we remember the instantaneous nature of all of Jesus' other miracles. Just walk through it. As we've seen in the Gospel of Mark. In Mark chapter 1, Jesus touched a leper and he was instantly cured of his leprosy. There's no healing process, no therapy that he had to go through. He was just healed. His flesh was restored and renewed. Mark chapter 2, the paralyzed man just got up and walked out in full view of them all. No therapy needed for him. When Jesus in Mark 4 said, "Peace be still," the wind and the waves were instantly silent, instantly quiet. The quelling of the turbulent waves was just astonishing power. It might usually have taken hours for them to settle down, but instantly quiet. In Mark 5, when He commanded the legion of demons to leave the tragic demoniac of the gatherings, thousands of demons instantly left and went into the pigs. There was no hesitation.
In that same chapter, the woman with the bleeding problem for twelve years touched the hem of his garment and immediately felt within her body that she was freed from her suffering. Again, no therapy, no pattern of healing, it was just done. Again in that same chapter, Mark 5, when Jesus visited Jairus' house, He touched that little girl, and she was instantly raised from the dead. Whatever fever or illness had brought her to death was gone. All she needed was a good meal at that point. Best of all, I think Mark 7, the Syrophenician woman, the mother answered Jesus humbly and with faith, "Yes Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table." And Jesus said, "For such a reply, you may go, the demon is gone." Well, that's instantaneous. What's so remarkable in Mark 7 and that healing is that Jesus didn't say anything, do anything or go anywhere. It just was in his mind, it's done, instant healing.
Remember the worship that came at the end of that chapter, Mark 7, with the healing of the deaf-mute and the people said about Jesus, they're overwhelmed with amazement and said, "He's done everything well until this.” This didn't seem to go so well. There must have been some intentionality here, and I think there was.
II. A Man Healed in Stages
There's intentional healing in stages, but why? Why a healing in stages? Look again at the account. Verse 22 -25, “They came to Bethsaida and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people, but they looked like trees walking around.’ Once more, Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes, then his eyes were opened and his sight was restored and he saw everything clearly.”
The location is Bethsaida, which we know from other scriptures was the hometown of Peter, Andrew, and Philip and probably Nathaniel. It's near where Jesus fed the 5,000. Almost certainly many of the people there had been miraculously fed by Jesus that day. So what happened? The issue is blindness. Blindness was tragically common back then. Jesus healed many blind people throughout his ministry. Blind people are obviously in great distress, many of them ultimately had to resort to begging just to survive. In this case, this blind man has friends that care about him. Some friends brought the blind man to Jesus and begged him on his behalf for him to heal him. It's a beautiful picture I think of intercession. Similar to the four friends, you remember, that dug through the roof and lowered the paralyzed man down and lay them in front of Jesus, they cared about this man. These friends didn't have to work so hard as those friends did, but they had the same level of compassion and care for their friend.
Stop for a moment and let's just do an application right here. This to me is a picture of intercessory prayer for lost people, that we would be bringing spiritually blind people to Jesus, for him to heal them spiritually. That's where we're going in the sermon, and I think it's just a teachable moment here. Who is like that for you? Are you praying for someone by name? Do you have a lost friend or coworker or neighbor or relative that you know by name and you are bringing this person to Jesus and saying, "Lord, please open his eyes, open her eyes.”? It's this teachable moment of intercessory prayer.
Now, back to the account, we see the healing. Jesus takes this blind man by the hand, similar to the healing of the deaf-mute, the personal touch. He loves to do this, touching people, but in this case with him being blind, He's got to lead him and He leads him outside the village. Then He spits, He uses his saliva to heal the blind eyes of this man. Similar to John chapter 9, which we'll discuss later in the sermon, the man born blind. In that case, He spat on the ground and made some mud with the spit and smeared it on the man's eyes and sent him away and he went to the pool at Siloam and washed and his eyes were open, he could see. But the same thing in this case is the spitting. In this case, Jesus spat directly on the man's eyes, something that ordinarily would be a great insult. When Jesus was being mocked, they spat on him. But in this case it's not that at all. It's just the applying of moisture of water from Jesus' mouth for his healing. Having done this the first time, He asked him what he can see. Jesus knows everything. He knows what he can see, but He wants him to speak his experience and so he does, in verse 24, "I see people, but they look like trees walking around."
Some sight has been restored, but it's not clear. People don't look like trees. His vision's working, but it's not clear, it's fuzzy, it’s not distinct. It's not reality, but it's better than it was. This is directly contrast with the final outcome, verse 25. Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes, then his eyes were open, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. It's just beautiful, I love that word “clearly.” He saw things as they really were. The same word is used of the deaf-mute. He can speak clearly at the end of Mark 7. It’s the same thing. So seeing things as they actually are, they're not fuzzy, they're not blurry, that's reality.
The account ends with this command about the village. He had pulled the man outside the village to heal him. After the healing, He commands him not to return to the village. Verse 26, “He sent him home to his home saying, 'Do not even enter the village.’" This may be like all the other commands to silence in these accounts where Jesus warned the healed person not to tell anyone. My usual go-to on that, has been crowd control. It's very clear that the Holy Spirit does not ultimately want this healing a secret because it's clearly been published around the world a billion times and twenty centuries of making this healing known to everybody. This is temporary injunction to not tell anyone, crowd control. As you see in John 6, the crowds got unruly, wanted to take Jesus by force and make him king. That seems to be why He does that.
Some scholars, however, believe that it's an act of judgment on the City of Bethsaida. I think it's possible because Bethsaida had been the site, as I said, of the feeding of the 5,000 and many miracles, and Jesus specifically takes Bethsaida to task in Matthew 11 and cries down a prophetic judgment on Bethsaida. Matthew 11:21-22, "Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would've repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you it'll be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment, than for you Bethsaida." So it could be we're at the point where Jesus does not want to give any more evidence of his deity and his wonder-working power to Bethsaida, possibly. I don't know exactly when the sequence was, but that's possible. So that's the account, just walking through it of what happened.
III. The Salvation Analogy: Physical and Spiritual Healing
Now let's talk about the spiritual analogy, the salvation analogy, physical and spiritual healings. Why this two-step? We can reject any failure or fault on Jesus' part. Jesus was not having a bad day. We all have bad days. Sometimes you have to kind of circle back, do something a second time. “Don't give up, don't get discouraged, look at Jesus, He never gave up. Don't do that.” That's not what's going on here. There's got to be some intentionality. Mark 7 still holds, “He has done everything well,” including this. Everything He does is for a purpose.
My idea here is Jesus was picturing that our spiritual healing comes to us in stages. That's my thesis, my idea. Whether that's his intentionality in this miracle or not, our salvation does comes in stages. But I think it's not hard to prove that Jesus' miracles were meant to be more than just physical, they're also to teach us things spiritually. I do believe that Scripture gives us permission to link the physical healings done by Jesus to the spiritual healing we need so much. Isaiah 53 starts that link. Isaiah 53:5 says, of Jesus, "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities: the punishment that brought us peace was upon him; and by his wounds we are healed of our transgressions and our iniquities.”
"Scripture gives us permission to link the physical healings done by Jesus to the spiritual healing we need so much"
Again, Luke 5, as we quoted many times, 31-32, “Jesus said, ‘It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I've not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’" There it is a clear link of our repenting from sin being likened to healing by a doctor. We need therapy, we need spiritual healing. We are sick with sin. That's the real sickness Jesus came to cure through repentance. Then the clincher for me with this whole blindness issue is in John chapter 9. In John chapter 9, Jesus heals a man born blind. It's a marvelous chapter. This man is healed, Jesus isn't around when he's healed, he'd gone away to the pool at Siloam. And then the spiritual police— Scribes, Pharisees, teachers, law, high priests, haul him in before the tribunal. They're grilling this guy as if he has done something wrong. It's a remarkable account, really is. It’s got some interesting moments like when the parents get hauled in and they say, "Is this your son? The one you claim was born blind?" Stop right there. “What would our motive be of faking his blindness? It's been nothing but hard for us.”
It's just amazing how obtuse these people are, and they're trying to force this man into their narrative of Jesus's life as an evildoer, as a messenger of Beelzebub. They're trying to force him, but this guy won't have anything to, he has none of it. He is just simple and is like, "You want to know what happened? I was blind, he put mud on my eyes, I washed and now I can see. What else you want to know?" "Well, we want to know who you think he was." "I think he was a prophet.” They start to curse at him and yell at him and said, "We don't even know from where this man comes." He said, "You don't know where he came from and he opened my eyes. Kind of obvious to me. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. How is it you can't see where he is from?" Then they end up cursing him out and basically excommunicating him, kick him out of the synagogue because they'd already decided that if anybody said that Jesus was the Christ, they'd be put out of the synagogue, so they throw him out.
Jesus goes and finds him, and it's not accidental. The next chapter, John 10, is the good shepherd that goes and looks for the sheep. He goes and finds this man, but the enemies come out and they're surrounding him and they're still right there. And Jesus says these words, John 9:39-41, "For judgment, I have come into the world so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Now that's a key verse in my mind of Jesus here. Some Pharisees who are with him heard him say this and asked, "What are we blind to? So tell us what you mean by that statement." John 9:41, Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains." In other words, you are blind. But they're physically fine. He's definitely talking about spiritual blindness. That gives me exegetical permission to see Jesus's healing of people physically blind as a picture of our spiritual healing from spiritual blindness. Jesus openly makes that connection here in John 9. The man born blind, his eyes were opened. He knew who Jesus was because he had said when Jesus went to him and said, "Do you believe in the son of man?” "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I can believe in him." Jesus said, "You have now seen him. In fact, he is the one speaking with you." Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. He didn't receive just physical sight that day, he received spiritual sight, the ability to see Jesus as savior. So we have every right to see all these physical healings as pictures of our spiritual healing, our salvation.
There are many such verses that speak about this. One very clear one is in Acts 26:18, and that's the third time, in the book of Acts we have the account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. The Lord said to him as He converted Saul, Paul, says, "I'm sending you to the Gentiles," listen to these words, "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light." Well, there it is. Our salvation, therefore, is likened to the giving of spiritual sight, moving us from darkness to light, "To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that they may receive forgiveness of sins in a place among those who are sanctified through faith in me." So that openly tells us our salvation is like we were blind and now we see.
IV. Saved in Stages
Therefore, I believe that Jesus saved this blind man in stages to picture our salvation coming to us in stages. What does that mean? The time orientation of our salvation is taught in the Bible. We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Now we Baptists are used to, "So when were you saved?" Or, "Are you saved?" and all that. We tend to kind of boil “saved” down to the moment of being born again. That's okay at one level, but it's not okay if we think that's all salvation is. Salvation's bigger than that, but it is that. We have been saved in the past, that being born again, justified if we came to faith in Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9, uses that language, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not of yourselves, it's the gift of God, not by work so that no one can boast.”
The moment you trust in Christ and repent of your sins, at that moment you're saved. Ephesians 2:8 tells you, "Saved from the wrath of God," but we're being saved as well.vA number of verses use this, but most plainly, 1 Corinthians 1:18, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." So we are being saved by the ongoing power of the cross. The gospel keeps ministering to us, "We are being saved." Then salvation's future, “We will be saved." Romans 5:9 uses that language, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him.” There is a yet future salvation, it hasn't come to us yet, and we will be saved. So that's the time orientation. It's a process. Theologically, the process comes in these three stages, justification, sanctification, glorification.
Justification is the beginning of the Christian life. What is justification? It's the instantaneous declaration by God that we, who are sinners, are righteous in his sight. We are declared not guilty of our sins. The simple language is, we're forgiven of all sins, past, present, and future. But more theologically, we are declared righteous in his sight. How is that? How are sinners like us declared righteous? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” That's how we are justified, we are forgiven, we are made righteous by faith in Jesus. It happens by a double imputation or crediting our sins to Jesus and He dies under the wrath of God on the cross. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." That's the second imputation. His righteousness credited us and on that basis, God declares us righteous. He counts our faith in Christ as righteousness and He declares us not guilty, acquitted, totally forgiven of all of our sins. That's justification. But that's not the end of salvation.
There’s a process and the next is sanctification. That gradual process of transformation where little by little, we are made more and more conform to Christ. We more and more think like Christ, love like Christ, act like Christ. Progressively, gradually. Many verses speak of this. Ephesians 4: 22-24 says, "You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." You're putting off wickedness, you're putting off sin and corruption and putting on purity and righteousness.
The key text in the entire Bible on sanctification is Romans 6, 7, and 8. Those three chapters, by the way, we are walking through those chapters carefully on Wednesday evenings. The next two weeks will be on creation/evolution, but then when we resume on Wednesday evenings, the adult Bible study will be walking through those chapters. I invite you to come. But Romans 6 teaches sanctification most plainly. Romans 6:3-8 says, "All of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him, dead once for all, the old self, so that the body of sin might be rendered increasingly powerless, weaken gradually. Romans 6:6, "So that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." Now if we died with Christ, we believe we'll also live with him, we'll walk with him, that kind of new life. Spiritual union with Christ means positionally, died to sin, at the instant of justification, we're dead to sin forever and then progressively, through new habits, through the transformation of the mind and the heart, by obedience to God's word, little by little becoming more and more like Christ. The progressive nature of sanctification is plain in Roman 6:19, "Just as you used to offer the parts of your body and slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness, leading to holiness."
That ever-increasing language that's progressive. We are to become more and more holy, more and more conform to Christ. That's salvation, that's sanctification, progressive. Paul commands the Philippians, "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." We have work to do, brothers and sisters. We have work to do in our salvation. We're not done being saved. It comes to us in stages. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But we're not on our own, God is working in us. Every good thing we do in sanctification, God worked it in us by His spirit. We are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [2 Peter 3:18]. That's the second stage.
The third stage is glorification, the final stage of salvation. This occurs also in two stages unless we're the final generation. If we are still in the mortal body, when Jesus returns in the clouds, we get to skip the whole death thing. You have to go through a lot of other things, read about it in Revelation. But if we're not, we're going to die. If you're a Christian, you die in the Lord. The instant that you die, your spirit will be separated from your mortal body and the mortal body will go to corruption, but your spirit will go to perfection, instant perfection.
That's step one of glorification. At that moment, your disembodied spirit will be present with the Lord, absent from the body, but present with the Lord, and you will be done sinning forever. How many of you are looking forward to that? Don't raise your hand, just smile. I'm looking forward to that. Free at last from sin, free at last. Then the final stage of our salvation is the resurrection of the body conformed to Christ's glorious body. Philippians 3:21 speaks of this, "By the power that enables him, Jesus to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they'll be like His glorious body." We're going to get a resurrection body.
Now all three of these stages are essential to our salvation. The Bible's very clear, we do not get it all at once. Therefore, I believe the healing of this blind man in stages, pictures our salvation in stages, but especially for me, our sanctification. Now I'm going to go back to that middle stage and say especially that I want to talk about the improvement of your spiritual sight for the rest of this sermon. That your eyesight, spiritual eyesight, will get better and better.
I'm arguing here that faith is the eyesight of the soul. I’ve said that many times before, I think it's a good analogy. The Bible likens faith to sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7, "We walk by faith, not by sight." They're very similar, faith and sight. Hebrews 11 does the same thing, "Faith is the assurance of things, hope for the conviction of things what, not seen." Later in that same chapter, Hebrews 11:27, it speaks of Moses, "By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger, he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." Let me say that again. "As seeing Him who is invisible." How do you do that? It's in the faith chapter — by faith you see Him who is invisible.
Ephesians 1:18 speaks of the eyes of the heart being enlightened. What is that? What are the eyes of the heart if not faith? The ability to see invisible spiritual realities, past, present, and future. That's the eyes of the heart being enlightened. Physical eyesight is vital to our lives. Jesus said in the Sermon of the Mount, "The eyes are the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is dark, how great is that darkness?" Do you have a sense Jesus was speaking about spiritual eyesight there? I do. But He's using the physical analogy. You know how important eyesight is to you? Why is it important? Because it means your whole body's full of light, it means you can see reality, you can see the world around you as it really is —the lay of the land, the rising and falling and undulation of the earth. The road curving left, going straight, then curving right, you can see it. The ditch on the right-hand side of the road.
Luke 6:39, "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?" Because your eyes tell you the pit is there, but if you're blind you can't see it. Eyesight has to do with reality, what is. Is a pit there or not? Have you guys ever walked into a darkened room you've never been in before? You're staying as a guest in somebody's house. You get up in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, and you walk through the room and yep, there was a coffee table there about shin high. Do you know what I'm talking about? You discovered it, but not by sight, because the room was dark. Now you can go eastern mystic there and say, it isn't really there. Oh no, it's there. Your shin's telling you it's there. We're talking truth. We're talking reality. The coffee table is there and the eyes tell you. Jesus used this analogy in John 11, when he says, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks at night that he stumbles for he has no light." The light and the eyesight tell you what is. They tell you what's around. Moving into the spiritual realm, the spiritual reality, spiritual eyesight, faith tells you what really is in the spiritual realm, what the truth is.
Now, biblically, our faith can be weak or strong. It could be non-existent, you have no faith, in that case you're dead in your transgressions and sin. You have no faith. But if you are a Christian, your faith can be weak or strong. Jesus frequently commented on the level of people's faith. For example, the Roman centurion in Matthew 8, “When Jesus heard what he said, He was amazed and said, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith."
Or again, to that Syrophenician woman, He said, "Woman, you have great faith. Your request is granted." So you can have great faith, meaning great in quantity. It's a dimmer-switch kind of thing. It's like you can have a little faith, more faith, great faith. You know the disciples, how often did Jesus complain about them? "Oh you of little faith." Remember when Peter began to sink? He said to Peter, Matthew 14:31, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" "Little faith," that was like his number one nickname for his apostles, "You of little faith." Therefore, it seems vital for us to increase our faith.
Faith can increase. Biblically, it is possible for you to have more faith a year from now than you do now. 2 Thessalonians 1:3, "We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more." What does that mean? You have more faith than you did a year ago. And the love you have for each other is increasing. Again, 2 Corinthians 10:15, "Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand." You can have more faith a year from now than you do now. Therefore, in the analogy I'm using today based on this miracle, it means clearer and clearer spiritual vision. You see things more and more clearly as you progress. Spiritual things, you see them more clearly than you used to. How does that happen?
"Faith can increase. "
It happens first with Bible intake. Good, sound, biblical instruction, feeding on God's Word. Get in God's Word. I would commend in the analogy we're using today, Psalm 119:18, where the psalmist says, "Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in your law." “Open my eyes”, what does that mean? “I'm reading the Bible. I might miss something. Give me clearer spiritual vision on the text.” From that, everything flows. Like what? As you take in God's Word and as you obey it, obedience is essential. Don't be merely a hearer of the word but a doer of it also. John 14:21 is the key on this, "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me and whoever loves me will be loved by my father and I too will love him and manifest or disclose or show myself to him.”
V. Ever-Increasing Spiritual Sight
The double combination is: have his commands and obey them. Then what'll happen, more and more, God will manifest himself to you. You'll see him. What will you see? There's some different things I've looked through in the Bible that link spiritual reality to vision, seeing things. What are you supposed to see if you get clearer and clearer vision? If you started with men like trees walking around, but then your vision gets clearer, what are you seeing more clearly? First, let’s start with Christ crucified, the agonies, the agonies of Christ's death. Do you see it? Galatians 3:1, "Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you before your very eyes?" Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. How do you do that? Preaching. Paul preached Christ crucified. Then, like Isaac Watts said, “when I survey the wondrous cross,” you're supposed to survey it. Look at him. Look at Jesus bleeding out on the cross. What are you supposed to see when you see that? You see all the attributes of God if you know what to look for. You see his love, you see his power, you see his compassion. There's not an attribute of God that you cannot see in the cross. Just surveying it, how long can I look? It's beautiful, powerful, terrifying. By faith you should look at the cross daily, I Corinthians 1:18, "By the cross we are being saved."
Secondly, you see the glories of Christ's resurrection. You can see his resurrected glory, the radiance that comes from his resurrected body. 2 Corinthians 3:18, "We all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord." How do we do that? By faith. You can see the glory of the resurrected Christ as Saul of Tarsus saw on the road to Damascus, a light brighter than the sun.
You can see the resurrected glory of Christ. "We all with unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to the next." The more you see that glory, the more you will shine like Moses, that's the analogy he's making there. You are going to shine with the glory of God. As I said earlier, what's your goal for 2023? I'd like to be more glorious. I'd like to shine more and more with the glory of the Lord. Then behold, with unveiled faith, his resurrected glory.
Thirdly, see the greatness of Christ's kingly power at work in you. Ephesians 1:18, “The eyes of your heart, your faith. The eyes of your heart may be enlightened." They're enlightened. What am I going to see? In that chapter, Ephesians 1, what you'll see is, "Pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you. The riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power at work in you who believe." That power, by the way, of the three, that's the only one He zeroes in on. “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion in every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” Wow. What's all that about? Power. Do you understand how great is Christ's kingly power? All authority of Heaven and earth has been given to him, but to what end? For you. To benefit you, to finish your salvation in this dangerous world. To protect you and get you there, to get you to Heaven. He's never going to fail. He wants you to see the eyes of your heart, be enlightened, to see that kind of power. Nothing can snatch you from his hands.
Fourthly, to see the vileness and the details of your own sin. What? You're supposed to see that? How can you be sanctified without it? That's the journey ahead of you. The reason you need sanctification is because you're a sinner, a habitual sinner. You're in a mortal body of sin. You have habits of sin. Do you see it? You don’t, not like you should. “Oh Lord, show me my sin." Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for." That sounds good to me, but it's also the conviction. Conviction, conviction of things not seen. Conviction? What does that mean? Like a convict like in a court of law, you've been convicted of crime. By faith you see your sin and you need to and you need to see how violent it is. When you see Jesus bleeding on the cross, you know it's because you sinned. And what will it make you do?If you see it for what it is, it'll make you hate it like He does. You have to see it as it really is so that you can hate it like He does.
Fifth, to see the lostness of people around you. We don't. That's why we don't witness. We don't see them by faith. We don't see what it's going to be like for them on judgment day when they don't have a mediator, when they don't have anyone answering for them, they will hear those dreadful words, "Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." They don't fear that. You're supposed to fear on their behalf because they don't fear like they should.
Remember those disciples in John chapter 4? They go into the Samaritan village and buy lunch, to-go. Not eating with these people. For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. What are they doing there, they asked. It's got to be one of the times the apostles questioned Jesus, like, "Jesus, why are we here? This is weird." There was another way to get up to Judea, but no, the text said they had to go through Samaria. Why? Because this woman and the village was there. They came back with lunch, but without a single Samaritan inquiring about Jesus. Not one. Jesus said to them, "I have food to eat that you apparently know nothing about." What is that food? Could somebody have brought him lunch? “My food is to the will of him who sent me and finished his work. That's what my food is. What about you? Lift up your eyes and look at the fields. They're white for harvest. Don't you see these lost people? Don't you see them?” Listen, brothers and sisters, I'm speaking to myself as much as to you. I don't see lost people the way I should. I don't have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart like Paul does in Romans 9. But I want to. Couldn't you ask the Lord to help you see lost people, not like trees walking around, but as they really are under the wrath of God and in great danger?
Six, see needy people around you. This is similar to the last one where it just has to do with physical miseries, poverty, sickness, brokenness, sadness. Remember the parable of the good Samaritan. Let me just read it so we don't miss the detail. “A priest happened to be going down the same road and,” listen to these words, "when he saw the man he passed by on the other side." He saw him physically, he didn't seem him spiritually. To the Levite, when he came to the place and saw him he passed by on the other side. He saw him physically, but he didn't seem him spiritually. “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came to where the man was. When he saw him, he took pity on him.” He saw him physically and spiritually and was a good neighbor to him. We don't tend to do that. We, like the priest and Levite, see physically, but not spiritually and go by on the other side. We don't alleviate suffering like we could.
Seventh, see the brevity of your life. See your coming death. It's coming soon, sooner than you think. Psalm 90 teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Where's the seeing verse? All of these, by the way, had seeing in them. That's how I found them in the Bible, I was searching. “God, show me seeing verses.” So here it is, Psalm 39:4, "Show me, oh Lord, my life's end and the number of my days. Let me know how fleeting is my life." “Show it to me. Let me see my own death. Let me see myself in the ICU, let me see me with my relatives, my grandchildren around my bed weeping for you. Let me realize like Ecclesiastes tells you to do, to be very aware that you're going to die. Show it to me.” Along with that, with Ecclesiastes, see the vanity of this world, the temporary nature of it. The ordering, the physical ordering of all the stuff in the world is temporary. In Matthew 24:2, when his disciples came and said, "Lord, look at these incredible stones, these amazing buildings," [talking about the temple]. "Do you see all these things?" Jesus said, "Not one stone here will be left on another. Everyone thrown down." Same is true of the whole world. All of it is destined for fire. It's all temporary.
Therefore, see the reality of the coming Judgment Day. 2 Peter 3, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar. The elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live godly and holy lives, as you look forward to the day of God, and speed it's coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat. Look forward to that coming day. See it coming and speed it's coming.
Finally, 10th, "See the glories of heaven." In the same chapter 2 Peter 3:13, "In keeping with this promise, we are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new earth. The home of righteousness." That's ten things you can see more clearly in scripture if you ask the Lord to open your eyes. At present, how many of those do you see men like trees walking around?
VI. Our Eternal Destination: Perfect Heavenly Vision
Our eternal destination is perfect vision. We're going to see everything clearly in heaven. How do I know that? 1 Corinthians 13:12 talks about this healing, very similar to the miracle we talked about today. We see but a poor reflection as in a mirror. That's, “I see people like trees.” Now we see, but a poor reflection as in a mirror, “then we shall see face-to-face. Now I know in part then I shall know fully even as I am fully known.” We're going to see everything clearly and we're going to see God face-to-face. 1 John 3 says that, "Dear friends, now we are children of God and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."
Then Revelation 22:3-4, "The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will serve him. They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads." In heaven, we'll have perfect clear vision, something to look forward to.
Close with me in prayer. Father, thank you for this miracle. Thank you for the way it taught us about spiritual vision. I pray, oh Lord, that you would sharpen our vision in these ten areas and other areas beside help us to start with Scripture, to see things in your Word that we have not seen before. And then to obey the things you tell us to do and not be mere hearers. And we know that if we have your commands and obey them, you're going to manifest yourself to us. Reveal yourself. So please, oh Lord, do that. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.