Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jesus Challenges Us to a Deeper Level of Understanding (Mark 8:22-26)

[Jesus and His disciples] came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around’
(Mark 8:22-24,
NIV, bracket mine).

The healing miracle of a blind man at Bethsaida is only recorded by Mark. In this case, Jesus took the man away from the crowd before performing the miracle. Why Jesus “took the blind man by the hand”? Why Jesus “led him outside the village”? Why Jesus “spit on the man’s eyes”? I’m not sure what’s really going on here. But for sure this miracle remind me that Jesus is always responded with compassion to people’s need; and based on the context of this text, Jesus wanted to show to his disciples that spiritual insight (they were lack of it, Mark 8:14-21) is similar to the man’s physical insight – it will be restore gradually and fully by faith (as in Mark 8:27-30).

Again, I don’t know why Jesus “took the blind man by the hand” personally, when one of His disciples could have done it. But like spiritual blindness, Jesus wanted to lead us because only He can show us “the way” (John 14:6) to all spiritual truth. Jesus “led him outside the village” probably because He desires the blind man – and even us – to have a more personal one-to-one relationship with Him. In Christianity, spiritual insight and truth will not be reveal in the form of doctrine or theology but in a Person – Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6). When Jesus “spit on the man’s eyes”, it shows to me that Jesus doesn’t have a fix method of healing. In the same way, Jesus can use whatever method He wills to open our spiritual insight in order for us to see and to realize that He is “the life” (John 14:6).

From “blind” to seeing people “look like trees walking around” to see “everything clearly” (Mark 8:25), the man’s eyes were gradually healed. Why Jesus did the healing in two stages? It may have been because of the man’s lack of faith. His faith was there but it’s not enough; our sight was there but it was not complete. And just as there would be complete healing for the blind man, there is hope for us too. It’s not that Jesus is unable to heal our spiritual insight thoroughly the first time, but Jesus wants us to experience the process of learning the truth of God.

I wonder why after Jesus had done this great miracle, He said to the man, “Don’t even go into the village” (Mark 8:26)? Why not? Most commentaries explained that Jesus didn’t want people to know Him as merely a healer or miracle worker. He don’t want an immediate out pouring of sick people coming to Him for healing and hinder His ultimate mission which is the healing of people’s souls. This explanation is valid and reasonable. But I would like to suggest another additional reason, namely, Jesus wants the man to go home to his family members first and tell them how much He has done for him, and how He has had mercy on him (just like in Mark 5:19). After all, the most important people we want to share the Good News of Jesus Christ after we’re given spiritual insight are those who closest to us!


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