Men, Like Trees Walking
Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached a sermon on revival with this puzzling title taken from Mark 8:24, a passage read today by those of us doing the McCheyne Bible reading plan.
23And 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?” 24And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” 25Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
This story, unique to Mark, is inserted right after the story of the disciples’ failure to understand about the loaves that Jesus had miraculously turned into a meal for thousands. The disciples are like this only partially cured blind man. They see, but they don’t see. They don’t get it yet.
And in verses 31-32 Jesus will announce his coming death and resurrection. He “said it plainly”. But the disciples still didn’t get it.
Because we are without a doubt educated beyond our obedience, some have called for a de-emphasizing of teaching and preaching ministry. But while our greatest need may not be more knowledge, we certainly need more understanding. And so I still believe with Richard Lovelace that the proclamation of the gospel in depth is the most important condition of the renewal of the church.