Tuesday, 28 August 2018

4 Witness to the Healing at Bethsaida

Based on Mark 8:22-26
The Villager
I don’t know about you but where we live it’s boring, nothing much happens here ever… boring!
Welcome to no where’s ville, here in the middle of nothing – Bethsaida.  There’s the desert dust and then just over that way to the West of us is the Jordan River.  That’s about it.
What happens here you ask.  You look at the desert and you go fishing and then for something different you go fishing and then you look at the desert. You think it’s boring here in this school with all your smart phones and laptops and entertainment and information on tap. You don’t know anything about boring, try fishing and the desert and the dust and the nothing ever happening.
Of course, like everyone else, we are under the Romans but even that is boring.  Everyone is too afraid to do anything about them – I mean they rule everywhere, everyone… everything!  So we keep our heads low and we fish and watch the dusty desert as the days pass by.
It’s so boring, nothing ever happens in Bethsaida… well not until today… today… today we had a visitor.
We had heard about this man, a man travelling the countryside with his ragtag bunch of followers. This man was telling people that God is good and that God is close.  This man named Jesus.  But it wasn’t just that he was teaching – he was doing miracles. 
We had heard he had fed a crowd – a crowd of 5000 people they said.  With just 5 loaves and 2 fish, they said.  I don’t know what sort of charlatan chef this Jesus is, but people said it was a miracle.  And people say it’s fantastic and that only someone connected to God could do anything like this.
So here we are in boring Bethsaida, where nothing ever happens, and Jesus, Jesus turns up.  Anyway old Fred who lives just down the way, old Fred who’s blind as a bat, his friends go and get him.  They get him and they take him to Jesus.
Nothing ever happens here, I’m telling you it’s so boring. 
But this day they take old Fred out to the edge of the town.  They take him out because they’ve heard that Jesus is coming.  And we followed them.  This is the most exciting thing to happen here since the Romans showed up a few decades back.  We wanted to see what was going on.
And we get out to where Jesus was just in time to see the most disgusting thing.  Jesus spat on his eyes, how gross is that.  Then he put his hands on old Fred’s eyes and he seemed to rub his eyes a bit before taking them away. The Jesus asked, ‘can ya see?’
Old Fred’s eyes still seemed a bit misty as he look around and he said ‘nuh, nope, not really… I mean I think I can people but they like a bunch of walking trees.’
A bunch of walking trees?  That’s what he said, that’s what called us.
And so Jesus put his hands on Fred’s eyes again and took them away.  Nothing ever happens here, I’m telling you that this place is so boring, but this day, this day Fred could see.
I saw it with my own eyes… it was a miracle.
I mean I did wonder for a moment whether old Fred had been tricking all these years.  I mean think about it one moment blind, the next not.  I mean that’s the stuff of the old prophets.
I don’t know who this Jesus bloke really is.  But I can tell you no one could do what he did without a direct line to upstairs… to the one who made us and everything… you know to the Lord… to Adonai
The Friend
Ok, I admit it. I was the one.  I took old Fred to see Jesus.  Well we did.  But, it was my idea.
I want you to think about this for a moment.  Have you ever known any of your friends to be in trouble or to have a problem?  Maybe they were feeling stressed about an assignment.  Maybe they had fallen out with another friend.  Maybe they were sick.  Maybe it was something serious… maybe like Old Fred, they were blind.
Being blind is pretty serious you know, well I think it is.  I had been helping Fred out for years. We all had.  And Fred seemed happy enough… but, well, you know… it was hard for us as well.
Anyway, we had heard that this Jesus guy was coming our way.  We had heard he could do anything.  So what do you do?  What would you do? You’ve got a mate who’s in trouble, you see an opportunity to help him out – what do you?
Do you sit back and do nothin’? Do you not care? Do you not engage? Do you not show any character?
Well that’s not me.  So I got my friends and we formed a team went to get Fred and we helped him to head out and see Jesus.  It was great teamwork.
And we got out to Jesus and we said to Jesus, ‘This is our mate Fred, his blind… What can you do?’
Now as soon as his saw Fred Jesus just went about his business.  He spat on his eyes and rubbed them with his hands, you know I’m talking about.  You’ve heard the rumours.
And old Fred was healed.  Now I don’t know but I think Fred was happy, he was really happy.  He seemed to really appreciate what had happened.
That was all that we had wanted for Fred to be able to see – and he could.  A miracle for sure.
But then again since then I’ve been wondering what does this all mean for me? I mean Jesus healed a blind bloke. 
So who is Jesus for me? What difference will it make to who I am?  I went there expecting to happen, hoping for it to happen, but when it actually happened… what does that mean for me?  What will it mean for you?
I don’t know about but if you’ve got a friend whose got some sort of problem.  Well you can sit back and do nothing… Or you can show a bit of character and engage with them, show them you care.  If you can’t do it alone get some friends to help out, show a bit of teamwork, and see what you can do, ask yourself who can help us.
That’s all we did.  We trusted that Jesus could help out, and he did.  It leaves you wondering doesn’t it, who is this Jesus, and what is God really like?  It has change my view of the world for sure.
The Disciple Peter
You should know who I am.
I am Peter, Simon Peter, the fisherman. And I follow Jesus.
I don’t just follow him I am one of the twelve, one of the disciples, one of the inner circle.
One of the in crowd… we’re like this (crossed fingers) with Jesus…
But I got to admit we might be like this but sometimes we just don’t get it…
Been with him a few years now.  It was back then I was there on the beach minding my own business when Jesus comes along and says the weirdest thing, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”
I had no idea what he was talking about.  I thought the man was bonkers – kangaroo loose in the top paddock.
But… at the same time… there was something about the way that he asked it that was irresistible.  There was something in the way he looked at me, so I just up and left my nets, right there and then.
And I said “Ok, let’s do this” and he said “I’ll make you fish for people.”
And ever since then I’ve been seeing things and hearing things that you simply would not believe.
He keeps saying to us things about who he is.  Just today, I saw him heal a blind man.  That’s real Torah stuff, that’s Moses and Aaron stuff, and Ezekiel and Isaiah stuff.  The stuff of the miracles and the old ways and the old legends! It’s that stuff becoming real again.
And it’s got me thinking. It’s got me thinking. Maybe, Jesus is more than I think he is.  More than just a teacher, more than a friend, more even than a healer and a miracle maker! Maybe more than all those things put together…
Maybe, just maybe… this guy, this guy who can heal blind men is the Messiah!

The Healed Blind Man
No one really asked me whether I wanted to see again.  My friends just took me to Jesus, they took me to Jesus just outside Bethsaida.  They took me to Jesus because they had heard that he could do amazing things… miracles.
And so Jesus spat on my eyes and put his hands on my eyes and asked, ‘Can ya see?’
But I couldn’t, not properly.  I can remember what it was like to see. Sure I could see shapes and people all blurry and all out of focus walking around like lumbering trees.
So I told Jesus, “I can see people but they like funny, like trees walking.”  I didn’t understand what was happening.
But I felt his hands reach out and cover my eyes again and then he took them away and everything was clear again. I can see clearly now…
You don’t really appreciate what you have until it’s gone but, crikey, when you get something back you sit up and take notice.
I could see my friends, they seemed to look so much older… different… but they were there and they looked so fine and beautiful…
I could see the pristine snow white clouds hanging against the bright blue sky and the town, my town, Bethsaida set off to the distance in the desert and dust, with the Jordan snaking its way off to the south in the background.  It was stunning, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
It was truly a miracle, I knew it was going to change my life.  So there I was just starring at everything, letting my eyes drink it all in when Jesus caught my attention.
He looked at me intently, with dark piercing eyes.  Full of wisdom, dripping with love and he said to me the strangest thing. 
“Go to your home.  Don’t even go to the village.  Just go to your home.”
It was as though he wanted to hide me away, hide the evidence of his miracle. 
I just wanted to go and share my news, to tell everyone, “Hey world, Jesus has made me well.  I once was blind but now I see!”
But he said go home. I think my friends were just as surprised, I think they expected more too.
So here I am.  Here in my dim home… not much to see inside here.  And I’m left wondering ‘what comes next?’
Encountering Jesus has changed my life.  I don’t know how it has changed my life yet, but it has changed my life.  I’m not sure what it means.  I don’t know who he was.  I just know that he did this thing for me that I don’t quite understand.
How will I live my life now that I can see again?  How can I say thank you? What does it all mean?

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