What Do You See?
Then Jesus placed His hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were
opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly (v.25).
You can look at a window and see its glass and
frame or you can look through a window and
see the mountain vista it’s there to reveal. Today’s
passage is a little like that. A superficial reading will miss
the beauty of all that we’re meant to understand.
On first glance we see just another healing story about
Jesus—albeit an unconventional one. Jesus takes a blind
man and spits on his eyes in an attempt to heal him
(Mark 8:22-26). “Can you see anything now?” Jesus
asks afterward. “I see people, but I can’t see them very
clearly,” the man replies. A second action completes the
healing and his eyes are opened.
But what do you see in this story? Let’s widen our view.
Mark’s gospel presents Jesus’ disciples as spiritually
short-sighted. They missed the significance of Jesus’
two feeding miracles (6:52, 8:19-21), leading Jesus to
say to them in frustration, “You have eyes—can’t you
see?” (8:18). They hadn’t grasped what these miracles
revealed about Him.
Now look at the story following the blind man’s
healing (vv.27-29). The community doesn’t see who Jesus
is either, thinking that He was a returned prophet. But
when Peter utters that monumental phrase, “You are the
Messiah” (v.29), Jesus’ identity is finally revealed.
This, says biblical scholar Ben Witherington, is what
the two-stage healing of the blind man is really about.
It mimicked the disciples’ early blindness to Jesus, their
partial sight about Him, and then their full understanding.
What a parable of modern belief! We too start off blind about Jesus, gain
partial sight (perhaps when we acknowledge Him as “a prophet”?), then finally
see Him for who He really is—the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God,
and the One to whom we owe our lives. —Sheridan Voysey
Read the rest of Mark 8:1 to see how Peter’s vision of Jesus still needed
improvement, even after his revelation.
How does this story match your own growth in understanding who
Jesus is? What might the story tell us about how people come to know