We don’t always see clearly. Our vision can get obstructed. Distractions sidetrack us. Preoccupation with a situation or person can get us stuck.
The Gospel of Mark details one of Jesus’ most peculiar miracles (Mark 8:22-26). Jesus and the disciples encounter a man born blind on the outskirts of Bethsaida. We can become accustomed to Jesus’ instant healings. On His first attempt, He asks the man, “Do you see anything?” The man responds, “I see men walking as trees.” Jesus rubs his eyes again, and the man experiences clear sight.
This peculiar miracle begs the question for us, what’s Mark teaching us about following Jesus?
Before this passage, Jesus feeds the 4,000 (Mark 8:1-13). Immediately after the feeding, the disciples forget the leftover bread (Mark 8:14-21). It would seem like Jesus built enough equity with the disciples, that if they did not have bread he could provide. They still worried. Jesus asks them the same question that He asked the blind man (Mark 8:17-19), “Don’t you see?”
Mark reveals to us how we do not always see clearly. You and I can easily wonder how the disciples missed it. Jesus stood right in front of them, and they still worried about bread. David Garland in the NIV Application Commentary: Mark helps us apply this passage:
If we ask, “How could the disciples be so dense?” we need immediately ask the same question of ourselves. The disciples saw dimly in a glass coated with dust of traditional ways of view things and warped by the curvature of their own dreams and ambitions. The glass we look through is no different. We are no less in need of healing before we can see what God is doing, and it may not take on the first try (pg. 316)
We don’t always see things clearly. Often, I find it difficult to understand how God is working around me. Just like the disciples and the blind man, we have enough vision to get the picture of Jesus but we still have our blind spots:
Anxiety drives us to focus on the minutia.
Worry freezes us in the what ifs.
Hurts from others can keep us stuck.
Doubt keeps us from remembering Jesus’ work in the past.
Ambition can distract us.
This passage calls us to recognize our blindness. We don’t always identify how Christ is working in us. The disciples and blind man help us see our need Christ to clear our vision. Today, it might start with you asking Him to remove the obstructions in your life.
What blinds you from seeing Jesus’ work in your lives? What might He invite you to see?
Photo credit by Mario Calvo.