“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law” (Psa. 119:18).
Read MARK 8:22–26
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 the village.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Full restoration to spiritual health is a process, illustrated by the stages of physical healing for the blind man. That process was true for the disciples, and it is true for us.
The previous two passages have prepared us to see the importance of compassion as a fundamental motivation for Jesus in meeting people’s practical needs, as well as the significance of looking beyond these practices to what they signify. Today we continue these themes, beginning the “discipleship discourse” proper. This healing of a blind man (Mark 10:46–52) and the later healing of blind Bartimaeus act as bookends for this whole section, indicating the importance of proper sight for those who would follow Jesus.
Here and elsewhere in Mark we are reminded of the physicality of Jesus’ healings. He does not stand apart from the man, commanding at a distance, but comes right up to him. Leading him by the hand, Jesus reaches out and touches him, as well as puts something of himself, his saliva, on the man’s eyes. The two-stage healing is unusual, however. The intermediate stage of the man’s sight indicates confusion over what he is seeing: trees do not normally walk! Does this indicate that Jesus’ initial action was imperfect? Certainly, we should note that Jesus does not give up in his attempt to help the man in need—but this does not seem to be the purpose of the passage.
Rather, the language used suggests that this miracle is also a sign. As in the previous passage, where the disciples’ limited focus is criticized by Jesus, this passage symbolically points to the disciples’ inability to see spiritual truths clearly without further help from Jesus. Indeed, as we will go on to see, the spiritual sight of the disciples is, at best, confused. In so many of our disagreements in church life, we would do well to remember that our sight is as yet imperfect. However, our prayerful motivation must be to see “everything clearly” (25).
Paul acknowledges that, “Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror” (1 Cor. 13:12). How has your spiritual growth been a process?
Holy Spirit, You have intervened in my life in dramatic ways, allowing spurts of spiritual growth. Thank You for those times. Grant me strength and stamina to see through slower times of maturing.