A BLURRED VISION
Lord, Your touch is all I need.
Read MARK 8:22–26
Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into[a] the village.”
a Mark 8:26 Some manuscripts go and tell anyone in
New International Version (NIV)
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“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25). Thank You, Jesus, that You have enabled me to see who You are.
Today’s reading describes a strange event – a two-stage miracle that only Mark has recorded. It is odd that Jesus’ saliva and touch result in only a partial healing and that the blind man needs a second touch. In consideration, this event is spectacular at best and unintelligible at worst –until it is understood in the light of the disciples’ condition and Jesus’ remedial education of them. Yesterday, we learned that the disciples suffer from poor vision; today, Jesus uses a blind man as a visual aid to clarify the disciples’ lack of (in)sight and how they might be cured.
The peculiarity of this episode is not that Jesus heals a blind man but that it occurs in two stages. After Jesus has applied saliva on the blind man’s eyes and laid his hands on him, we would expect the man’s sight to be restored right away, but instead it is blurry. So, Jesus re-applies His touch, and this time the man’s sight becomes clear. It is unlikely that Jesus has misjudged His powers, so we must look for another explanation for this anomaly.
Jesus leads the blind man out of the village (23), so the disciples are probably the only witnesses to this miracle, implying that this is all for their sake. If so, what does Jesus want the disciples (and by extension us) to learn from this peculiar event? I suggest that the man’s progressive healing from blindness to blurred vision to clear sight is reflective of the disciples’ gradual progress in understanding Jesus’ identity, teaching, and mission. In other words, the two-stage healing of the blind man mirrors the disciples’ understanding, showing that insight into the things of God is progressive and requires a divine helping hand. The next episodes will confirm this reading.
Reflect on those areas in your understanding of God that are less clear and ask Him for insight.
Lord, all of us are born blind to the things of God. Heal our lack of insight day-by-day as we progressively see things more clearly.