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Sustainer of Faith

Tyler David    /    Nov 25, 2012


Tyler David speaks on Mark 8:1-30

Series: The Gospel of Mark


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Sermon Transcript

Jesus is going to finish the work that He started in His people. He is going to finish the faith that He gave us to believe in Him and to receive Him as King and Savior. He is going to make sure that faith persists for the rest of our lives.


Jesus is our only hope.


Have you ever asked yourself if you’ll still love Jesus in ten years? Have you wondered if you would have as much faith and trust in Him in the end, as you do now? 


If we were honest with how inconsistent we are, we should ask these questions.


We are an inconsistent people. Think about those seasons of your life where you barely read the Bible or your inconsistency in prayer. Think about the family members that you’ve known for years, yet you’ve never talked to them about Jesus.


What hope do we have that Jesus won’t become just a distant relative? Someone we see every now and then, but who doesn’t really have an impact on our life.


How do we know that won’t be our faith? 


Jesus will ensure that His people have faith. Even with our obvious and blatant inconsistencies, Jesus will make sure we’ll have faith until the end.


The hope of our endurance to the end is not that we’ll be strong enough or wise enough, or moral enough. Our hope is that we have a Savior who will stay with us and will patiently endure with us.


Parable of Blindness


 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” Mark 8:22-26 (ESV)


This is a very interesting and unique story. It’s a parable to what is going on in the surrounding verses.


At first you question why the blind man wasn’t healed the first time. Did Jesus lack power? 


Nothing in the gospels suggests that we should doubt Jesus’ power. Which means He must be doing this for another purpose. He’s showing His disciples a physical picture of something. He’s healing this man in a particular way to teach them something. 


In this story, the blind man has three stages:


• He was blind, then

• He could partially see, then

• He could see clearly and fully


Thus, Jesus is teaching them three things:


• The Pharisees’ unbelief


The man’s blindness represents the Pharisees and their inability to see Jesus as the Messiah. 


• Their own partial unbelief


Jesus heals the man partially to show the disciples what their unbelief looks like. They can see that Jesus is someone special, but they don’t really know who He is. They don’t fully trust Him yet.


• The belief to come


Then He heals the man fully to show the disciples that He’s going to give them that kind of sight, that kind of faith. They will have a clear and full vision of who He is. Through all their inconsistencies and failures, He is going to give them that kind of vision and faith.


The Pharisee’s Unbelief


In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. Mark 8:1-10 (ESV)


This is a prologue where Jesus feeds four thousand people. He takes a small amount of food and multiplies it to feed thousands. This is the second time He’s done this. 


Then the Pharisees show up and begin to show us how they are like the blind man. They look at Jesus and don’t see anything, just darkness. 


The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side. Mark 8:11-13 (ESV)


As was their pattern, the Pharisees immediately begin to question Jesus. They demand from Him a sign, a miracle. They want to see more. Jesus sighs deeply in His Spirit. These men grieve Him because they are bent on not believing in Him and disregarding Him.


He just fed four thousand people, but they still asked for another miracle. They want one more sign to know for sure that He is the Messiah. He has shown them more than enough evidence and teaching for them to know who He is. 


Yet they are blind men.


He denies their request. Jesus knows that another sign or miracle won’t fix their lack of faith. The Pharisees seeking signs is not a sign of their faith, but rather shows their lack of faith. 


When we seek signs from Jesus, it’s not showing that we want more faith. It’s a sign that we’re actually prideful.


I had a friend who was ten years older than me. He had a degree in philosophy. He was an atheist/agnostic type. We have a lot of great conversations, one in particular. I was sharing the gospel of Jesus. He says, “Tyler, I will believe in Jesus if He will just show up right here in front of me. I’ll repent of my sin and come to believe in Him, if He’ll just show up.” This struck me. I began to ask why God wouldn’t show up for him. If he really wanted to believe, then why wouldn’t God just show up for him? This request of his, asking Jesus to show him another sign, wasn’t revealing an actual pursuit of Jesus, in a humble way. It was revealing pride and arrogance in him. What he was saying was, “I will believe in you Jesus, if He does exactly what I want Him to. If He’s meet my requirements and standards, then I’ll believe in Him.”


What we are saying when we ask for signs is that we’ll believe in Him only if He honors us as gods. He must do what we say if He wants us to believe. 


Seeking signs shows us our pride. Our blindness.


We are no different than the Pharisees. How many times have we asked God to just show us a sign? If He’d just do this one thing, I promise I’ll obey, I’ll believe and trust. We say, “I can’t trust in God since He let this thing happen. He let my relationship fall apart. He let me lose my job.” This is really saying, “I can’t trust God if He doesn’t do what I want Him to do”.


Who is god in that situation?


We are.


This doesn’t mean you can’t ask God for things, for whatever it is that you want. But when the basis of your faith is contingent upon Him meeting your requests, it has become about your pride.


It’s you saying, “I’ll submit to you God, as long as you submit to me first.”


The Disciples’ Partial Unbelief


The partially blind man could see things, but not make out what they were.


The disciples lacked faith like the Pharisees, just in a different way. They could see Jesus as someone special and different. But they didn’t know exactly who He was and they didn’t trust and depend on Him just yet.


Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:14-21 (ESV)


The disciples forget to bring lunch. They began to talk about where they were going to get bread. Jesus hears them discussing this and tells them not to worry, He just fed four thousand people. They’re going to be fine. 


He says not to worry about physical bread. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod, their teaching and attitude, is the spiritual bread they need to worry about.


They still can’t see Him clearly. They can’t put two and two together, realizing that if He can feed four thousand, He could probably feed them too. 


We’re just like the disciples. We have Jesus with us, but we still doubt that He is going to take care of us. When it comes to our needs, we don’t trust Him. We so easily forget how faithful He’s been. We forget all the tangible ways that He has taken care of us. We stress about money, forgetting how God has always provided for us throughout our lives. We stress about obeying or sacrificing something for Him, forgetting all the times in the past when we’ve obeyed and life was joyful from it.


When you look at the Pharisees and the disciples, what hope do they have that they will actually ever believe? Jesus is right in front of them, but they can’t seem to figure it out.


They’re continual inconsistencies should lead us to think that they’ll never going to believe. 


How do we know that we’ll ever believe and have faith?


The Belief to Come


Jesus healed the blind man in a particular way. The point was to show the disciples the clear vision he gives the blind man will soon be their faith. He was going to make sure they have sight to see Him for who He really is. 


 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. Mark 8:27-30 (ESV)


These are the guys who have yet to get anything right about Jesus. They’ve seen miracle upon miracle and yet still can’t understand that He is the Christ, the Messiah. 


Jesus asks them who people say that He is. They give him the typical response, that He’s someone special, but nothing different than what they’ve already seen. They answer the same way that our culture would respond. People today say that Jesus was a great teacher, like Buddha, but nothing more. He’s just one of the many who have led us in the past.


But then Jesus asks them who do they think He is. Suddenly, things change and the disciples begin to see Jesus for who He really is. 


You and I should not expect them to give the right answer here. We should expect them to say that they still don’t know. 


But something miraculous has happened and now they can see clearly. Its not a partial vision, but now, they can clearly see who Jesus is. 


Peter says, “You are the Christ, the One we’ve been waiting for, the One that was promised to come.” 


The same guys who couldn’t understand how His miracles were working now, all of a sudden, know specifically who He is. He’s not just a prophet, or a teacher. 


He is the Christ.


This is the faith He was talking about. All of a sudden they are like the man who can see. They have clear sight and can see who Jesus really is.


He is the Sustainer of Our Faith


Why were the disciples able to see Him, but the Pharisees weren’t? Why were they able to have faith?


Were they more faithful and spiritual? No way. You could actually argue that they were worse than the Pharisees. They were around Jesus and saw miracles all the time. Jesus pulled them away from the crowds and taught them. They were getting lessons and demonstrations that no one else was getting. Yet they still didn’t believe.


The only difference between the Pharisees and the disciples is that Jesus stayed with the disciples. When they showed their lack of faith, Jesus stayed and instructed them. He taught them the truth and created in them faith, sight.


When the Pharisees showed Jesus their unbelief, Jesus got in the boat and left. He saw their lack of faith and left them.


The disciples didn’t figure it out on their own. 


They came to believe because Jesus gave them sight to believe. 


Jesus gave them the faith to trust in who He is.


The only difference between people who have faith in Christ and people who do not is that Jesus has stayed with those who believe and taught them. He has given them faith to see.


Humanity is not broken up into godly and sinful people. Or into good and bad people. Or faithful and faithless people. It’s broken up into a bunch of bad people and one good person named Jesus. One faithless people and one faithful God, named Jesus.


The only reason you and I have faith right now and in twenty years is because Jesus stays with us. Not because we’ve figured it out. 


The story of our lives is not that we were faithful and consistent. But that Jesus was everything that we weren’t. He stays with us and continues to give us eyes to see.


He is our only hope. He’s the only one that can sustain us and give us faith.


The application is really simple. Stay near to Jesus. 


The way we do that is by reading the Scriptures and staying in prayer. Jesus gives us faith to see by having us continue to dwell on His Word. We have to be in the Scriptures and stay near to Jesus if we’re going to make it. 


Put your hope in Jesus, He will sustain us to the end.