In Mark 8.22-26 we have a story of Jesus healing a blind man. The story is told to us only in the Gospel of Mark. It’s an interesting story because it requires Jesus to touch the man’s eyes twice before his vision is completely restored. After the first touch, the man’s vision is distorted in the sense that he is able to see people but they simply look like trees walking around.
The point of the story is not the mans blindness and restoration of sight. The point is the blindness of Jesus’ disciples and their need to have their vision restored so that they can see what believing and living the good news of the kingdom of God is all about.
The disciples reveal their spiritual blindness in the feeding of the 5,000 (Mk 6.30-44) and 4,000 (Mk 8.1-13). With the 5,000, the disciples intended to send these hungry people off to find food for themselves rather than providing them with something to eat. So Jesus showed them that God was more than able to provide. Yet when the disciple’s got a second chance with the 4,000 they still failed to believe that God could provide for their ministry. As a result Jesus asks them the most scorning of questions, “Do you have eyes but faith to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” (Mk 8.18, NIV 2011).
That sets the context for the point Mark wants his readers to grasp as he tells about this blind man being healed. It’s a point we need to grasp as well. The same God who is at work in Jesus is at work in those who follow Jesus. That means that as disciples of Jesus, we have more than enough to minister to those who God brings along our path. More so, just as Jesus invested himself in ministering to those in need, so should we. If we don’t get this then it is us who fail to see and it is us who need to be touched by Jesus again, having our vision restored.
Here is a link to a sermon I preached on this story yesterday at the Randolph Church of Christ, if you’re interested in listening (approximately 25 minutes):