Men Like Trees
MEN LIKE TREES
SERMON OF THE WEEK #200804 - January 27, 2008
Mark tells us that one day, Jesus and the Apostles came unto Bethsaida, and
they bring to Him a blind man, and beseeched Him to touch him. Now Jesus had
been in Bethsaida many times, although no other visit to the city was
mentioned until this one. We know He had been there many times, and done
many miracles because in Matthew 11:20 Jesus said, "Woe unto thee,
Bethsaida, for if the mighty works that were done in thee had been done in
Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. It
shall be more tolerable for them in the Day of Judgment than for thee."
With all their advantages of learning from Jesus, Bethsaida was the worst
town in the world to go to Hell from, and the best town in the world to go
to Heaven from.
America today stands in the same judgment as Bethsaida. We have been blessed
by God with greater opportunities to evangelize the world than any nation in
history, and what a heavy judgment will fall upon this land in the judgment
as we see the efforts of a people gone mad in their efforts to remove every
reminder of the grace of God. It shall be more tolerable in the Day of
Judgment for some of the cities in the Middle East than for sports-crazed,
So they brought this blind man to Jesus with the request, "Touch him, Lord."
They were confident that Jesus could restore his sight by a touch. They had
no doubt heard how Jesus had gone into a house at nearby Capernaum, and
healed Peter's mother-in-law by touching her hand. And it was at Capernaum
that He had healed a leper with the touch of His hand. And even more
inspiring in the same area He had restored the sight of two blind men with
the touch of His hand. So there was no question with these people that Jesus
could heal this blind man with the touch of His hand. They had faith in the
Lord to heal, but they had to do something about it. They had an active
faith, and brought him to Jesus.
Many of us have faith the Lord can save from the uttermost members of our
family, or other friends, but is it an active faith? We pray about it, but
what have we done to bring it to pass?
So the Lord first took him by the hand, and led the blind man out of the
city. At Bethsaida they had not responded and, rather than work one more
miracle, and have them sneer, and say, "...any rabbi could have done as
well," He led him out of their city to heal him. When He led him out of the
city, He was leading him away from unbelief in the virgin birth, and He was
leading him away from those who denied the authority of His Word.
Jesus still leads us today, but He does not take us by the hand, as He did
the blind man of Bethsaida. While we may rejoice, and enjoy the sentimental
feeling about Jesus, as we sing "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on,
help me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn." But after we sing about
it, let us come back to reality. The Lord is no longer here in a physical
body taking us by the hand, and leading us. However, He still leads us just
as much as He led the blind man of Bethsaida. While He was here on earth He
could lead only one person at a time, but now through His divinely inspired
Word, He can lead us all as we sing "Lead me on through the night, lead me
on to the light: Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on."
So they came to Bethsaida; Bethsaida means, "The House of Fishers." House of
Fishers is an appropriate name for that village because it was the hometown
of at least six of the Apostles. In John 1:43, John tells us that Philip was
of Bethsaida of the city of Andrew and Peter, and it was there the Lord
called Philip when he said, "Follow Me," and Philip brought Nathanael to the
Lord. And since Luke tells us James and John were partners with Simon, which
would have been their hometown, it seems that six of the Apostles would
become fishers of men in the great ocean of humanity, when they received the
It would also be appropriate if every congregation could be known as the
House of Fishers, because of the great number of preachers sent out to be
what Jesus called fishers of men. The crying need for the world today is for
more preachers of the Word. Remember, it was Jesus Himself who said, "Pray
the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers into His harvest." The
reason we have been on the radio for all these years is because we are
fishers of men, and radio seems to be a real good fishing hole.
And so it seems a strange coincidence that in the city known as the House of
Fishers, there were a great number of people who were spiritually blind, but
it was here some compassionate people had brought a blind man to Jesus with
the request that He touch him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand, and led
him out of the town.
Then Jesus spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon his eyes, and said,
"Seest thou ought?" He looked up and said that he saw men as trees walking.
After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and
he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
Jesus spit on his eyes; this probably was to loosen his eyes stuck shut.
This served as a salve to loosen his eyelids; a miracle was not needed for
this part of the healing. Jesus does not perform useless miracles. When He
changed the water into wine, He did not waste a miracle on filling jars with
water. This was something they could do. When he raised Lazarus, He did not
work a useless miracle by rolling away the stone; this was something they
could do, and must do first, then came the miracle of resurrection.
He still does not do for us today what we can do for ourselves first. Many
times in church meetings people are asked if there are any prayer requests.
Some good folk will ask for prayer if someone has a rash, or ingrown
toenail, and not a word about prayer for people who are being tortured, and
put in prison for their faith.
This is the only miracle that the Lord worked in stages. He touched the man,
and he looked up, and saw men as trees walking. Then He touched him and he
saw clearly. Most of the time today the healing that is done by the Lord in
answer to our prayers is done the same way. We may be sick unto death, and
to everybody's amazement the sick person recovers. Generally the recovery is
by a gradual process.
Then think too, of how many ways the Lord works in our lives by stages. God
did not give the completed copy of the Word of God in the Garden of Eden to
Adam and Eve. It was not a leather-bound copy of the Bible that guided Adam.
Paul says in Hebrews chapter one that God spoke unto the fathers in divers
portions and in divers manners. It was a gradual revelation until Jesus came
and made His sacrifice and ascended to the right hand of the Father. Then
and only then the revelation of God was complete, and it be said, in 2nd
Timothy 3:15, "All scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good
So when Jesus healed the blind man, he looked up and said he saw men as
trees walking. Evidently he had not been born blind because he knew what a
tree looked like. He saw men as trees walking. In other words at first he
had a distorted vision. There are millions of people today whose vision is
distorted, and they are never able to see things as they really are.
The application of salve to his eyes reminds us of what the Lord said to the
church at Laodicea in Revelation the third chapter. He said they were blind,
and needed to buy of Him eye salve that they might see. Jesus does have eye
salve, and it is for sale. It is somewhat expensive, and it will cost you
some of your time. The eye salve is the Word of God, and the more you apply
it to your eyes the better your vision will be. Let Jesus touch your eyes
again, and you will look up, and like the blind man of Bethsaida, you will
see all things clearly.
The man said he could see men as trees walking. This is the way the Devil
wants us to see ourselves, not as trees walking, but as gods walking. This
is what the Devil told Eve in the Garden of Eden at that debacle at the foot
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve began to have a distorted
view of God. She thought she was god. For God doth know that in the day ye
eat thereof your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good
and evil. Again Paul addressed the same subject when he told the Romans in
chapter one, "Professing themselves to be wise they became fools and changed
the glory of the incorruptible God into an image of corruptible man.
Humanism began in the Garden of Eden and has surfaced again in these last
days when men think that they can make up their own rules. Our spiritual
guide today is, "What do the polls say?"
Take a look at God's view of man as found in Romans the third chapter.
Listen to God's description of the human rascal, "There is none that
understand; there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of
the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth
good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongue they
have used deceit. The poison of asp is under their lips. Whose mouth is full
of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction
and misery are in their ways; and the ways of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes." This is the way God describes
the human rascal. The icing on God's damnation cake is when He says a few
verses later, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Many
have a distorted view of the human race; the humanistic view sees the human
as god walking, but God sees him as a lost and damned-to-hell sinner to be
held responsible for his actions.
And now another distorted view that some may have is the distorted view of
the Lord Jesus Christ. Some people look up and see Jesus walking as a good
man; they see Him walking as a perfect man; they see Him walking as a
philosopher, but they don't even see any tree. The tree Peter talked about
when he said to the elders and the high priest in Acts 5:30, "The God of our
fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, hanging him on a tree."
To look at Jesus without the cross is a fatal view. This was the distorted
view of the Apostles when they first heard about the cross. Then Peter took
Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall
not be unto thee." The Devil did not want Jesus to go to the cross, and he
knew the Lord would not listen to him, so he said, "Peter, you tell Him."
This would not be the last time the Devil would speak to people through the
lips of a preacher. The greatest lies that are told today on this planet are
the ones that are told by preachers.
The thought of Jesus carrying a tree was unthinkable to Peter; this could
have no part in the program of Jesus coming into the world. The other
Apostles felt the same way, when Jesus said, "And they shall kill Him, and
the third day He shall be raised again." They were exceedingly sorry.
Later on, Peter saw all things clearly. In his first epistle he tells us,
"Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from
your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious
blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of
Christ." Hear him again as he declares, "Whom His own self bore our sins in
His own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto
righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." At first, Peter could not
see Jesus on the tree, and now he cannot see Him anywhere, but on the tree.
The preaching of the first gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost was a
message on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter's
vision had cleared up since that day at Caesarea Philippi when he said, "Be
it far from thee Lord this shall never be unto thee."
Saul of Tarsus who led in the slaying of Stephen and many other Christians
did not see Jesus on the tree. After his conversion his vision cleared up,
and he said, "He knew nothing, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified; God
forbid that I should glory save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ."
I read the footnotes in one of those popular study Bibles; and the footnote
on Acts 2:38 informs us that it should be written like this, And Peter said
unto them, "Repent for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit." It is sufficient rebuttal to say; if Peter had meant it
that way, he would have said it that way. It is also an interesting thing to
note that all of the major translations, both Protestant and Catholic,
translate Acts 2:38 the same way repentance and baptism for the remission of
sins or unto the remission of sin. Hundreds of world-class scholars, from
all denominations laid aside their personal beliefs, and translated it the
same way. Read it again in your version, and hopefully your vision will
improve, and you will get a better view of the Man on the Tree.
And now one more concluding thought on the man with the distorted vision.
Many today are not touched with the suffering of Jesus who gave His life for
them on the cross, and there is a reason for it. John tells us about it in
his first epistle when he says, "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself,
and the evil one toucheth him not." So who is touching you now, the Lord or
In Matthew 9 those two other blind men cried out to Jesus, "Lord, thou son
of David, have mercy on us." Jesus touched their eyes, and like the blind
man of Bethsaida they received their sight. Today may the eye salve of the
Word of God applied to your eyes through the preaching of the Word of God,
cause some of you to look up, and begin to see as through a glass darkly;
the Lord Jesus Christ, not walking as a tree, but hanging on the tree.