And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” Mark 8:22-26
Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:
There are a couple of general statements earlier on in the Gospel of Mark that speak of the great numbers of people that Jesus healed of illnesses. It would seem that for the most part Jesus healed people wherever he went in the region of Galilee. Even though Jesus healed many, there are only a handful of accounts of specific healings. The healing of the blind man in today’s passage is the last mention of a healing by Jesus in the region of Galilee. As a matter of fact there is only one more healing of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Mark. It happens after they arrive in the region of Judea and it also involves a blind man.
The Gospel writers had a lot of possibilities to choose from when thy selected what they would include in their Gospel accounts. While their arrival in Bethsaida is a part of the sequence of their journey, the author did not have to include the account of this miracle. There may have been other things that happened in Bethsaida the author could have reported on or he could have not reported on anything and moved right on to their next destination, Caesarea Philippi (tomorrow’s Devotional). The appropriateness of this particular miracle at this particular juncture is quite noteworthy.
Remember our theme this week is comprehending Jesus as his followers. Yesterday we saw how troubling the lack of comprehension by everyone was for Jesus. The crowds, the Pharisees, and even his disciples did not get it. While this miracle is first and foremost about meeting the need of the blind man, it also serves as an object lesson of sorts about comprehending (seeing). While there is no way to know for sure why Jesus heals this blind man in the way he does, it is not unreasonable to think that Jesus did it in the progressive way he did for the benefit of his disciples. We mentioned earlier that there was another blind man that Jesus healed after this one. In that account, Jesus says, “Go, your faith has made you well.” That was it and nothing more and the blind man could see.
In today’s passage we begin with total blindness. Then there is phase one of the healing and we have blurred vision. Then we have phase two of the healing and we have seeing everything clearly. It speaks so much to the condition of the disciples in regard to comprehending Jesus. They are no longer blind but they are certainly not seeing clearly yet. They are still in phase one and are stuck in a blurred vision condition. As the rest of the Gospel story unfolds, they will remain this way. It will not be until after the resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit that they will see everything clearly.
Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:
Lord, help me to see everything clearly. Yes, you Jesus, the Lord and Master of the universe live within the depths of my soul through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I want to see fully what this means and to envision the amazing difference you can make in my life as a result. Keep me from facing life without a full awareness of how your powerful presence is at my disposal (blurred vision). Help me actually to live through the power of your presence in me as I face the challenge of living life the way it should be lived day by day. Amen!