Stages of Restoration
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
Think about where we have been so far in Mark’s Gospel and what just happened in the previous passage. The disciples have seen Jesus do many things to this point, and they had their trial run. But still, they do not understand. Jesus accuses the gang of having eyes but not being able to see. All this time, and yet they still don’t fully see! No, Jesus didn’t fail on the first attempt; there is something powerfully symbolic in what Jesus (and Mark) are doing here.
The man is blind and sees nothing. (There are indications he wasn’t always blind as he knows what trees and men look like and can distinguish between them.) The plea comes to Jesus to heal him, so he takes the man away from the village where a little spit in his eyes and laying on of hands starts to open his eyes. The man now can see, but the image is blurry, and men look like trees. He doesn’t fully see yet.
Jesus once again places his hands on the man’s eyes, and they are fully opened; true sight is restored. And yes, the Messianic Secret seems to make an appearance again when Jesus tells the man to go home and not into the village.
Maybe you are sitting there getting upset at me because you think it has to be more than Mark manipulating the story of healing to make his point. I agree. But Mark is a teacher probably receiving this story from Peter, who has decades to wrestle with why he didn’t get it sooner. Something bigger had to happen that fully reveals the true identity of the Christ.
We have now reached a transition point in the Gospel. What follows are those events that will lead them (and us) toward having sight fully restored. After all, sometimes there are…
Stages of Restoration
Sometimes our vision of you can become dull, or maybe non-existence. We ask you to clarify our vision, even if it happens in stages.
Lent is right around the corner. Maybe this season is built into the calendar for just such a purpose!
I pray this in the name of the Deliverer of Amazing Grace; for I was blind, and now I see. Amen!