Don’t Go Back to That Place!
The Nature of the Kingdom (8:22-10:52) section of Mark’s Gospel begins with the strangest miracle that Jesus ever performed. It is, at least, the only miracle where we see Jesus touching an individual more than once to accomplish the intended outcome. And, it is filled with great truth that should impact on our lives tremendously.
In my last devotional thought, I offered a broad outline of Mark’s story of Jesus. The first section, The Kingdom Revealed, comes to a close with Jesus confronting His inner circle with a series of questions (8:17-21):
Do you not yet understand?
Is your heart still hardened?
Having eyes, do you not see?
Having ears, do you not hear?
In other words: They simply weren’t getting it.
Suddenly, we’re in Bethsaida. You’ll remember Bethsaida . . . This is one of the cities that Jesus pronounced woes upon in Matthew 11 and Luke 10. Your subheading may call it an impenitent city. In other words, they were unwilling to be sorrowful over the Godless lives they had been living. Jesus had been amongst them revealing His Father’s kingdom. His message was very clear: “The Kingdom of God has come! Repent and believe.” (Mark 1:15). Yet, they refused. Bethsaida was a blind city. They had refused to receive the light that Jesus came to offer.
Isn’t it interesting that this is the backdrop of our narrative?
We may be tempted to believe that this is simply a story about a man’s physical blindness. But, the whole Nature of the Kingdom section is back dropped with blindness. It begins with Jesus’ question, moves to this physically blind man, and ends in chapter 10 with a blind man named Bartimaeus.
I’m convinced that it reveals the desire of this Kingdom:
• The King comes to us in our state of total blindness
• He refuses to leave us there
• He desires to lead us into the full light of the Kingdom here and now: The Kingdom has come!
Think about this:
The King has come so we can see fully.
We don’t have to remain in our blindness.
Here’s the question: Do we really want to see?
I want us to notice something about the story we might read over.
The first thing Jesus does, when they bring the blind man to him, is to take him by the hand to lead him “out of the town” (23). Before there is any physical sight restored, Jesus takes him by the hand and leads him out of Bethsaida to a place where He will do a great work in his life.
Don’t miss it . . .
He (Jesus) leads him out of the town (Bethsaida, the blind city) in order to do a deep work in this man’s life. This was the environment of darkness he had been living in and now, Jesus wants to lead him out. Before He does anything else–even before physical sight is restored–He wants to lead him out of the darkness he’d been living in for so long.
May I speak plainly?
I’m captured by this scene.
In its simplicity, I really am.
I have come to realize that many will never experience the deeper work of Jesus in our lives. Why? Because we’d rather remain in the environment of darkness that we’ve lived in for so long. He comes and longs to lead us out and we just keep going back to those dark places.
What is that He is leading you away from in order to do a deeper work?
Are you willing to leave that environment of darkness that only serves to keep you blind?
Would you trust Him enough to lead you out?
Do you really want to see?
Our story begins with Jesus leading a blind man away from a blind city.
It ends with Jesus speaking a command to this fully sighted man:
“Don’t go back to that place!”
Will you allow Jesus to lead you from your environment of blindness?
Then, heed His command: Don’t go back to that place!
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