Holy Spirit, in reading and pondering Your Word, may I see more clearly Your way and how to walk boldly in it.
Read MARK 8:22-26
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Christ never does his work by halves, nor leaves it ‘till he can say, ‘It is finished’” (Matthew Henry, 1662-1714).
Jesus performed multiple miracles during his three-year ministry (John 20:30), so Mark had to select those he felt most significant. Many scholars believe he chose the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida for two reasons. First, it is unique in being a two-stage healing. Nothing else like it is found in any of the Gospels. Second, Mark probably viewed it as an acted parable, dramatizing the slow development of the disciples’ faith. It comes immediately after Jesus had upbraided his disciples with the question: “Do you have eyes but fail to see?” (18).
It is quite possible that Jesus is reinforcing that question by performing this miracle after the manner of some Old Testament prophets. They often acted out parables to catch public attention and press home their message (e.g. Isa. 20:2-6). The disciples had begun to see, but their spiritual vision was still fuzzy. Through this miracle-as-parable Jesus is promising that they will eventually attain 20/20 spiritual insight as, in fact, they did after the resurrection and Pentecost.
Mark’s first audience may have been Christians in Rome who were suffering persecution under the Emperor Nero. By relating this teaching miracle of Jesus, Mark is encouraging them to persevere in the face of hostility and suffering. His message is similar to what Paul wrote to the Philippians at about the same time. He urges them to be confident “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). While we may not yet be facing the dire straits of the Roman Christians, it is becoming increasingly difficult to affirm Jesus as Lord in a society where exclusive religious claims are shouted down. But take courage: Jesus has promised never to leave you (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)!
Ask Jesus to sharpen your spiritual vision and fortify you to affirm his Lordship. Ask for eyes to discern God’s purpose for you, the church and for the world.
Gracious Father, today I ask for 20/20 vision to see what You have in mind for me, and courage to stand for You–no matter the opposition.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.