The Bare Soul
August 15, 2010
Leading Others to Jesus
Mark 7:33a - Jesus took him aside from the crowd ...
So often, Jesus' dealings with people were enigmatic to say the least. The dynamic of conflict seemed to generally be the rule when the Lord taught and healed. When Jesus instructed the people, He often brought tension by stating the way the Pharisees instructed and then disavowing it by the way of God. Many instances support this, however Jesus does a rapid succession in the Sermon on the Mount that countermands in short order what most thought a righteous man was in Jesus' day (see Matthew 5:21; Matthew 5:27; Matthew 5:33; Matthew 5:43). Healing was no different in ancient Palestine, both from Christ's and the religious order's perspective. Most healing in Christ's time was done by priests in a temple setting or by those that would go to the home of those sick. Usually sums of money were paid in order to buy favor and to thereby expect a healing. When Christ healed in a synagogue, it usually brought the ire of the religious folk because Jesus made a point to heal (non gratis) on the Sabbath. However, we also see Jesus moving in the miraculous outside the confines of the institutional religious setting. These were usually marked by a lack of confrontation by the Pharisees, but also a freedom and simplicity as Jesus was able to move unrestrained as others would follow His bidding.
In two separate instances in the book of Mark, we see Jesus dealing with a deaf and blind man, respectively. What is so remarkable about these two encounters is how Jesus chooses to administer God's healing.
Mark 7:33-35 - Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, 'Ephphatha!' that is, "Be opened!" And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.
Mark 8:23-25 - Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.
One might read these scriptures and get side-tracked how Jesus Christ healed the deaf and dumb man and the blind man. We might think this is rather unorthodox how the Lord uses His own saliva as the catalyst for these men's healings. While this is extraordinary in itself, it is quite easy to miss how these men came to their place of respective healing. In both cases, Mark tells us that Jesus led them away from the clamor of the crowd. Why is this significant? Because Jesus wants us to know that his salvation is personal. It is not an uncompassionate act of "hocus pocus" on a wholesale manner. No, it is much different than that. It is the Living God taking a man by the hand or leading another who cannot hear or speak to a place of solitude in order for Him to administer His love as He sees fit. The healings of these two individuals is momentous, to be sure. But how they came to a place of healing is of much greater importance. It was from nothing they had done, but from the care of others. If we read the prelude to both healings, it mentions that others brought these men to Jesus for healing. These were obviously those who cared a great deal about these men and desired to see them healed. Through their faith and desire to see these men healed, they led them to the Great Physician who was more than able to administer His love and grace and to ultimately restore them to perfect health.
Too often we might forget that Jesus is still in the business of restoring lives. It is quite easy to believe that if we have brought someone to the Lord in prayer that we need not do it again. However, those who have "prayed through" and have known when God has lifted a burden for someone that has been on their heart, know when a release comes and their prayer subject has been placed in the hand of Jesus. This is a glorious understanding when an intercessor knows that their prayers have allowed those they have prayed for to be released to the Lord's care. Then, comes that phone call or that email confirming indeed that the Lord has taken that soul by the hand and has led them to that quiet place where He has ministered His grace. Beloved, I am assured that whenever God moves upon a man, woman, or child in a special way it's because others have spent the time praying for this to happen. Just as they brought the infirmed to Jesus in His day, so we must also continue to bring those that are spiritually lost or physically stricken to the Lord Jesus Himself. There is no other way that they will get there. And if we don't bring them, they will not know the wonderful touch of His hand.
Has Jesus ever taken you aside from the crowd of religious folk to create in you something new and living? If He has you will never be the same! And, if He has it is without a doubt a result of the intercession of others that have prepared the way for God to come take you by the hand to experience that wonderful encounter. No one comes to Christ on their own accord, whether it is salvation or healing or whatever. It is always through the burdens of others as they have borne the prayers to bring these close to the Savior. Are we bringing others to Jesus? They will never get the chance to be led aside by our wonderful Lord if we do not bring them before Him in petition and prayers. But once we do, we shall see the wonderful works of God demonstrated time and time again. God's ways are not our ways -- He will continue to save and to heal in what we often consider enigmatic manners. However, He will always do so in a loving, caring, compassionate manner that will only be manifested as we give Him the opportunity through our leading of others to the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example that Your Son gave us to lead others to Him. You are desirous to save and to heal. Allow us the privilege to draw others to Your Throne of Grace that they too might know Your consummate salvation for body, soul, and spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
The Bare Soul Archives