Your word, oh Lord, is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. May I trust your word enough to follow it all the days of my life.
Continuing to inch along through the book of Mark, tonight I’m looking at Mark 8:22-26:
And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” (Mark 8:22-26 ESV)
I read through this passage several times, waiting for its lesson for me tonight to come through. Several things came to mind:
Here’s another example of people bringing someone to Jesus in hopes of him healing them (they “begged him to touch him.”)
Jesus “took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village.” Why? Was it because Jesus was still trying to keep his ministry and power under wraps? Had his time not yet been fulfilled? (What does that even mean?)
Jesus spit on his eyes. This is something we haven’t seen before. Up until now, Jesus healed with just a touch. But here we see him applying his spit—perhaps as a salve? He certainly didn’t need to do that, from a power standpoint; we know already that Jesus could heal with just touch. Still, he spit. Why?
The man’s healing was gradual—it was a two-step process. Whereas in his previous healing miracles, Jesus just spoke or touched and healing was immediate, here it is not. In fact, Jesus has to ask the man for his status before he completes it. Why?
Stepping way back, I see a metaphor in this man’s healing: he begins totally blind. After a bit, he can see in part, but not in whole (“I see men, but they look like trees, walking.”) And finally, “he saw everything clearly.”
It is this last part that I’m going to keep chewing on as I go to bed tonight. Healing is a process. Even miraculous healing. And I am talking about all sorts of healing. Physical, yes, but also spiritual healing.
We all begin blind. As one of my favorite songs says it best (incidentally, quoting from scripture), “I once was blind, but now I see.” That’s all of us. And as we begin to enter in to relationship with Christ, we begin to experience vision—fuzzy at first, but gradually growing clearer and clearer.
We will not have perfect spiritual sight until we have departed this world and entered into the kingdom to come. As the famous passage says, “now we see in part, then we shall see in whole.” And this should keep us very humble, especially when it comes to theological arguments. We can “think” we see something (trees walking) only to realize that what we actually saw was something else altogether (people walking!) We can think someone else is totally spiritually blind, only to find out that they have sight, it’s just a bit fuzzy.
As we pray for others and for ourselves, it is good to bear in mind that we are all somewhere between total blindness and perfect sight. As we continue coming to Jesus for vision and clarity, he continues to heal us. Some day, we will all see perfectly—and, like this man, the image before our eyes will be the beautiful face of Christ.