MEN LIKE TREES WALKING

Mk.8:23-25 – So Jesus led him, as his sighted guide, outside the village. He placed his saliva on the man’s eyes and covered them with his hands. Then he asked him, “Now do you see anything?”

“Yes,” he said. “My sight is coming back! I’m beginning to see people, but they look like trees—walking trees.”

Jesus put his hands over the man’s eyes a second time and made him look up. The man opened his eyes wide and he could see everything perfectly. His eyesight was completely restored!

The miracles of Jesus are all so unique and carry the power and authenticity of the gospel. This healing of this particular blind man is different from all the others. If we look closely, we can see the beauty of God’s work in this powerful physical healing. Jesus had used His saliva before on ears, eyes, and even a tongue. The difference in this miracle is in the way this man’s sight was restored. At first he saw a blur that appeared like walking trees. After another touch from the Lord his sight was perfectly restored. Matthew Henry describes this miracle like this.

“Thus Christ would show how, and in what method, those are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind; at first, their knowledge is confused, they see men as trees walking; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly. Let us enquire then, if we see aught of those things which faith is the substance and evidence of; and if through grace we see any thing of them, we may hope that we shall see yet more and more, for Jesus Christ will perfect for ever those that are sanctified.”

I love Henry’s description of the work of Christ. Just as this man began to be gradually bathed in the natural light of the sun, after the touch of Christ our eyes are opened and the light of His grace began to bring clarity into our darkened world. The light of the glory of God heals our spiritual vision bit by bit so we are no longer walking in darkness. At first, we may see those around us like trees walking. After that second touch we begin to see our world differently through the light of His grace.

FOUR GREAT MIRACLES

Luke Chapter 8 contains four great miracles performed by the Lord. He displays His power over nature when He stilled a storm, authority over demons by freeing the tormented man in Gadara, His ability to heal those who are desperately sick when He healed the woman with the hemorrhage in her body, and His authority over death itself. Check out these four miracles.

I. POWER OVER NATURE

LK.8:24,25 – So the disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Master, Master, we’re sinking! Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

With great authority Jesus rebuked the howling wind and surging waves, and instantly they stopped and became as smooth as glass. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you fearful? Have you lost your faith in me?”

Shocked and shaken, they said with amazement to one another, “Who is this man who has authority over winds and waves that they obey him?”

II. POWER OVER DEMONS

LK.8:34-36 – Then the people of the region came out to see for themselves what had happened. When they came to where Jesus was, they discovered the notorious madman totally set free. He was clothed, speaking intelligently, and sitting at the feet of Jesus. They were shocked! Then eyewitnesses to the miracle reported all that they had seen and how the demonized man was completely delivered from his torment. After hearing about such amazing power, the townspeople became frightened.

III. POWER OVER DISEASE

Lk.8:47,48 – When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”

Jesus responded, “Beloved daughter, your faith in me has released your healing. You may go with my peace.”

IV. POWER OVER DEATH

Lk.8:54-56 – Jesus approached the body, took the girl by her hand, and called out with a loud voice, “My sleeping child, awake! Rise up!” Instantly her spirit returned to her body and she stood up.

What kind of a miracle do you need today? He rules everything from tornadoes and earthquakes to heart problems and cancer. He knows the challenges you are facing and He is more than able to drive back every enemy and to bring life to your soul as well as your body.

THE TALK OF THE TOWN

Lk.7:16 – 17 – A tremendous sense of holy mystery swept over the crowd as they witnessed this miracle of resurrection. They shouted praises to God, saying, “God himself has visited us to bless his people! A great prophet has appeared among us!” The news of Jesus and this miracle raced throughout Judea and the entire surrounding region.

You really can’t keep good news like this quiet. Think about it; without television, newspapers, radio, social media, or iPhones the whole region heard about this boy in Nain who was raised from the dead. After all, we are still talking about him 2000 years later. When the Lord visits a city the word gets out. The Lord had decided to go to Nain that day. Did He go on a whim? Was this just a random stop? I don’t think so. This widow and her son had an appointment that day, they just weren’t aware of it. People seldom are. The woman at the well in Samaria was caught by surprise at her well. Paul was surprised on the Damascus Road. Peter also was caught off guard by the unplanned fishing trip with the Lord that changed everything. What do all of these stories have in common? They are all part of God’s plan to change the world. Here is how Johann Spangenberg sees it.

“And this talk of him spread forth throughout the whole land of Judah and to all the surrounding areas. You see, those are the fruits of the wonders and work of God, for where God’s Word, wonders and works are joined with a true believing heart, there Christ will be rightly known. And where he is recognized, there pure thanks, praise and glory will follow. Then all people must say: “Well, God did not visit us in wrath but in grace. He has given us a great prophet—but no, not a prophet, but rather his own dear Son for our Savior, who will save us from the devil, death and hell. Why should we not rightly thank such a Savior, and for his sake suffer everything gladly? Where is another who has shown himself to be so friendly and charitable to us, yes, who has done us so much good, as this Savior Christ?”

So when He shows up in your world don’t think its just a coincidence, it is a guarantee that the Lord has something special in store for you and everyone in your world.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL STORIES

Lk.7:11-14 – Shortly afterward, Jesus left on a journey for the village of Nain, with a massive crowd of people following him, along with his disciples. As he approached the village, he met a multitude of people in a funeral procession, who were mourning as they carried the body of a young man to the cemetery. The boy was his mother’s only son and she was a widow. When the Lord saw the grieving mother, his heart broke for her. With great tenderness he said to her, “Please don’t cry.” Then he stepped up to the coffin and touched it. When the pallbearers came to a halt, Jesus said to the corpse, “Young man, I say to you, arise and live!”

This has to be my favorite story in the Bible. Of all the miracles of Jesus this one displays God’s love for forgotten people. Let’s face it, all of us have felt picked over and left out from time to time. It could be the drama of always being the last picked for sports, or being rejected by the school you wanted to get in, or even the feeling of being second best or unloved in your family. Living in Nain may have made you feel that way. Nain was an out of the way insignificant town. This lady had never had it easy. First her husband and now her only son. Rejection, depression, fear, and anger; she was overcome with those hopeless feelings of finality that death brings. All of that suddenly changed when Jesus came to Nain. Why would Jesus come to Nain? He does nothing by accident, He came to Nain because of that poor widow’s pain. Here is how Barclay describes this moment.

“In many ways this is the loveliest story in all the gospels. It tells of the pathos and the poignancy of human life. The funeral procession would be headed by the band of professional mourners with their flutes and their cymbals, uttering in a kind of frenzy their shrill cries of grief. There is all the ageless sorrow of the world in the austere and simple sentence, “He was his mother’s only son and she was a widow.” Jesus was moved to the depths of his heart. There is no stronger word in the Greek language for sympathy and again and again in the gospel story it is used of Jesus.”

Jesus was moved deeply with compassion for this woman, He was hurting with her. Maybe today is your day; maybe, just maybe Jesus is coming into your world right now. When He visits your city all the dead things come alive and your days of sorrow will be finished.

HE LOOKED UP TO HEAVEN

Mk.7:34 – Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

I wonder what Jesus saw when He looked into heaven. Did He have feint memories of the glory He had experienced with His Father in eternity past? How much did He realize of what man had lost from the fall and the consequences we bore physically as well as spiritually? He saw the struggle of this man who couldn’t hear or speak and as He looked into heaven He groaned. I wonder if Jesus is groaning for me today? I wonder if He sees what I lost and is interceding that I would come into the fullness of my inheritance. Here are some thoughts from the Pulpit New Testament about this passage.

“He looked up to heaven, because from thence come all good things — words for the dumb, hearing for the deaf, healing for all infirmities; and thus he would teach the infirm man by a manifest sign to what quarter he was to look for the true source of his cure. he sighed; literally, he groaned. Why did our Lord sigh at such a moment? We know indeed that he was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;” but now we might almost have expected a momentary smile of loving joy when he was about to give back to this afflicted man the use of these valuable instruments of thought and action. But he sighed even then; for he was touched with the feeling of human infirmity, and no doubt his comprehensive eye would take in the vast amount of misery, both bodily and spiritual, which has come upon the world through sin; and this, too, immediately after having looked up to heaven, and thought of the realm of bliss which for a time he had left “for us men, and for our salvation.”

Jesus is actually seated in heaven today praying for each one of us. He is still in His human body, still remembers the pain of humanity, and is praying for us as He is moved by the struggles that we all face. Just as He took this suffering man aside and ministered to Him personally, He will take time for you. He remembers you and is more involved in the details of your life than you know. He is close enough to breath His spittle on you like the man in the story. He is able to make you completely whole.

HE HAS DONE ALL THINGS WELL

Mk.7:37 – And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

This phrase immediately brings us back to the Lord’s intent in creation; He does all things well. Sickness, death, and poverty were never intended to be part of the equation. Everything God created was good, until… Until what? Until man went out on his own. Like Satan, man thought he could do it on his own. He felt entirely capability of launching out on his own. That didn’t last very long and didn’t turn out so well. Sickness, death, and poverty became part of our experience. Life was filled with hard times. The worst consequence of all; we were all alone, out of fellowship with God. We were left to our own devices and managed to mess up pretty much everything we touched. When Jesus came on the scene He began to heal the sick. His life and ministry became a foretaste of His coming kingdom when sin, sickness, and death would be done away forever. Notice the comments the onlookers made when this deaf-mute was healed. Here is how Barclay described it.

“The whole story shows us most vividly that Jesus did not consider the man merely a case; he considered him as an individual the man had a special need and a special problem, and with the most tender considerateness Jesus dealt with him in a way that spared his feelings and in a way that he could understand.

When it was completed the people declared that he had done all things well. That is none other than the verdict of God upon his own creation in the very beginning (Genesis 1:31). When Jesus came, bringing healing to men’s bodies and salvation to their souls, he had begun the work of creation all over again. In the beginning everything had been good; man’s sin had spoiled it all; and now Jesus was bringing back the beauty of God to the world which man’s sin had rendered ugly.”

I love the personal nature of this healing miracle. The deaf man was not a nameless face in a crowd, he was an individual and Jesus treated him as such. He took him out to a private place and healed this man. Disease was defeated and the Lord was continuing His practice of doing all things well.

LITTLE DEAD BOY

Lk 7:14 – Then he stepped up to the coffin and touched it. When the pallbearers came to a halt, Jesus said to the corpse, “Young man, I say to you, arise and live!”

I love to read about the miracles of Jesus. This miracle stands out to me as much as any of them, this was an insignificant town and an insignificant widow. That’s exactly the point, this is all of our stories; insignificant people who are loved by God. This boy and his mom are pictures of all of us, dead in our sins without any chance of fixing ourselves. How did this situation get turned around? Jesus came to town and put His hand on this boy’s casket. When Jesus comes on the scene everything has to change. Death cannot stand before the power and love of this life giver. Eyes are opened, paralytics get up, lepers are cleansed, deaf ears are opened, dead come alive, the gospel comes to the poor, and those without hope begin to hope again. Here is how Martin Luther describes this event.

“This is not a sermon for the satisfied crowd, but it is delightful for the small and insignificant. The widow, whose only, beloved son has died, is set forth as an example for them. By this woman, the Gospel teaches us what we poor folks need to know: our Lord is a Lord of wretched, forsaken, dead and corrupt people. That is the content and text of the gospel. Paul also said, “Because the world in its wisdom does not recognize God, he turns everything around and becomes a God of foolishness and fools.” Those who are well satisfied do not wish to have him for a God, but instead they trample him underfoot and do not notice him, as Moses said. Therefore it has pleased God to turn everything around and to be a God of those who are not full and satisfied but are rather poor and thin, those who suffer hunger, thirst and distress, who are imprisoned and who die.”

So what category describes you today? Deaf, blind, paralyzed, stained with sin, poor, dead in your sins, or just plain giving up; it makes no difference, Jesus is more than enough for a every circumstance. Today He happens to be coming to your town and putting His hand on your casket. One touch is all it takes, that’s when everything begins to change. epped up to the coffin and touched it. When the pallbearers came to a halt, Jesus said to the corpse, “Young man, I say to you, arise and live!”

I love to read about the miracles of Jesus. This miracle stands out to me as much as any of them, this was an insignificant town and an insignificant widow. That’s exactly the point, this is all of our stories; insignificant people who are loved by God. This boy and his mom are pictures of all of us, dead in our sins without any chance of fixing ourselves. How did this situation get turned around? Jesus came to town and put His hand on this boy’s casket. When Jesus comes on the scene everything has to change. Death cannot stand before the power and love of this life giver. Eyes are opened, paralytics get up, lepers are cleansed, deaf ears are opened, dead come alive, the gospel comes to the poor, and those without hope begin to hope again. Here is how Martin Luther describes this event.

“This is not a sermon for the satisfied crowd, but it is delightful for the small and insignificant. The widow, whose only, beloved son has died, is set forth as an example for them. By this woman, the Gospel teaches us what we poor folks need to know: our Lord is a Lord of wretched, forsaken, dead and corrupt people. That is the content and text of the gospel. Paul also said, “Because the world in its wisdom does not recognize God, he turns everything around and becomes a God of foolishness and fools.” Those who are well satisfied do not wish to have him for a God, but instead they trample him underfoot and do not notice him, as Moses said. Therefore it has pleased God to turn everything around and to be a God of those who are not full and satisfied but are rather poor and thin, those who suffer hunger, thirst and distress, who are imprisoned and who die.”

So what category describes you today? Deaf, blind, paralyzed, stained with sin, poor, dead in your sins, or just plain giving up; it makes no difference, Jesus is more than enough for a every circumstance. Today He happens to be coming to your town and putting His hand on your casket. One touch is all it takes, that’s when everything begins to change.

ARE YOU THE PROMISED ONE ?

Lk.7:22 – And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

All of us have struggled with our doubts, John was no different. Even at the height of John’s prophetic insight he saw through a glass darkly. John wanted to be certain before he died, is Jesus the one? Rather than just giving John words Jesus put on a display of His power for John’s disciples. He healed the sick and cast out evil spirits to display the power and glory of God for John’s disciples. He then began to quote from Isaiah about the miracle ministry of the Messiah. That’s all we need, a demonstration of the power of the Spirit and the confirmation of the word of God. Here is how Spurgeon explains this passage.

“Our Lord makes no assertion, but sets clear evidence before the eyes of John’s delegates. He based the evidence of his Messiahship upon his miracles…..What John had heard in prison his messengers were to see for themselves, and then to tell to their imprisoned master. Prison walls cannot shut out news of Jesus; but good news comes best through friends who are personal witnesses. The messengers received command “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see. ” Of hearing and seeing they had more than they could fully report, and more than enough to make them see for themselves that Jesus was the Christ. The cures wrought were all beneficent, superhuman, and of a kind foretold by the prophets as signaling the coming of Messiah. The proof was cumulative: the argument increased in power. The last two proofs are evidently placed as the climax of the argument: “The dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. ” These two wonders are placed side by side. There is as much of the miraculous in the poor man’s gospel as in the dead man’s resurrection.”

So what was true in Jesus’s day is true now. He is still ministering to broken people. The power of the Spirit and the word seen in the testimony of Jesus in His elect today is all we need. I have to agree with the blind man that Jesus healed; I once was blind but now I see.

JOHN’S DOUBTS ANSWERED

Lk.7:18 -23 -TPT -John’s disciples reported to him in prison about all the wonderful miracles and the works Jesus was doing. So John dispatched two of his disciples to go and inquire of Jesus. When they came before the Master, they asked him, “Are you the coming Messiah we’ve been expecting, or are we to continue to look for someone else? John the prophet has sent us to you to seek your answer.”

Without answering, Jesus turned to the crowd and healed many of their incurable diseases. His miracle power freed many from their suffering. He restored the gift of sight to the blind, and he drove out demonic spirits from those who were

tormented.

Only then did Jesus answer the question posed by John’s disciples. “Now go back and tell John what you have just seen and heard here today. The blind are now seeing. The crippled are now walking. Those who were lepers are now cured. Those who were deaf are now hearing. Those who were dead are now raised back to life. The poor and broken are given the hope of salvation. And tell John these words: ‘The blessing of heaven comes upon those who never lose their faith in me no matter what happens.’”

1. THE BLIND ARE SEEING – Not only does Jesus heal physical blindness, His power and love open the eyes of our hearts. When we tell our story that we were blind but now we see it effects other people. This is exactly what Jesus was doing for John, telling of His great love to help encourage the Baptist at his lowest moment.

2. THE CRIPPLED ARE WALKING – The testimony of Jesus effects the way we “walk”. We are no longer walking in darkness like those around us. We are walking in the light of His love.

3. THE LEPERS ARE CURED – Leprosy has always been a picture of man’s sinful condition. Jesus cleanses us on the inside as well as the outside. What a testimony, all of my sin has been washed away.

4. THE DEAF ARE HEARING- Before we were born again we could not hear His voice. Now that Christ has come into our lives His word is alive to us.

5. THOSE WHO WERE DEAD ARE RAISED BACK TO LIFE- We were dead in our sinful condition. Like Lazarus, His voice brought us back to life.

6. THE POOR AND BROKEN ARE GIVEN THE HOPE OF SALVATION – Without Christ we are totally bankrupt. Not only does the Lord supply our needs, He Himself becomes our greatest treasure.

7. THE BLESSING OF HEAVEN COMES UPON THOSE WHO DON’T LOSE THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST NO MATTER WHAT – As our faith is awakened our life begins to change. The favor of God begins to come on every part of our lives.

SPEAK THE WORD

Matt.8:8 – But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.

There were several times that Jesus was stopped in His tracks by faith. I think of the screaming of Bartimaeus, the woman who touched His cloak, and maybe the little boy who gave up his lunch. This time was quite different. This was a gentile. Not just any gentile but a Roman officer in the oppressor’s army. This display of faith grabbed His attention. “You don’t even need to come to my house. Just say the word”. This man got it. He was a man of authority and knew the power of his own words. He spoke and people followed his commands. What he saw about Jesus was amazing. He saw that Jesus had authority over all things including sickness and death. “Just say the word and my servant will be fine”. This is the faith that the Lord was searching for. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes this.

“I also,” said the centurion, “am a man under authority.”….. He took the meaning of the centuri- on’s illustration and He admired it, for indeed it was a grand and beautiful idea to set forth our Lord Jesus as the great Emperor of the universe, to whom all things are under rule, and to whose faintest word each form of force, whether good or evil, is sure to render obedience. He showed that he had rightly estimated Christ and enthroned Him as He should be enthroned in the place of unlimited sovereignty and power. The Master did not, therefore, for a moment, object to anything he said. No, but the prayer had been offered that the servant might be healed and the prayer was granted. The faith had been exercised which believed that Christ could heal, and that faith was honored. Our Lord did exactly as the prayer requested Him. He came when He was asked to come. He stayed when He was asked to stay. He spoke the word when He was requested to speak the word. He healed when He was asked to heal. In all things. He yielded Himself entirely to the centurion’s wish, to show His cheerful readiness in benefiting the suffering boy and in answering his master’s prayer.”

So for us today we can recognize the authority that Christ has in heaven and on earth. Come to Him and look to His word. His authority has been given to us to act in His name. Sickness and disease are still bowing down to Him.