Mark 8:22–30 (ESV)
22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 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?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” 27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
If someone asked you, “Who is Jesus?” How would you respond? Keep in mind that this person knows nothing about Jesus except some rumors along with some bits and pieces of information that they’ve gleaned here and there. So how would describe Jesus to them? What would you say Jesus is like? What character traits would you focus on?
In the passage, this miraculous sign is a living parable of hope for the healing of spiritual blindness. Only in Mark’s Gospel do we hear about this miracle, and it seems a little strange to us. It seems as if this man’s blindness is obstinate and difficult for Jesus to cure. But we know that doesn’t fit with what we’ve seen Jesus do in the previous chapters with His incredible miraculous signs: casting out demons, the healing of the deaf, twice the feeding of thousands, walking on water, and calming the storm. So why the two-step process when it comes to restoring this man’s sight?
This miraculous sign is a process of revelation of sight. For the blind man, it was a physical process of having his sight restored. He was blind, then he could see in dimly, and finally, his eyes were open and he saw everything clearly.
In a similar way that is what is happening with the disciples; they are having a process of revelation of sight regarding Jesus’ identity. The disciples were blind before they met Jesus. In the boat, they dimly see who Jesus is but they have no understanding. But because they continue to press on with Jesus, staying close and accessible to Him, there will come a time when their sight is fully restored, and they will clearly see the real Jesus.
That moment comes in the second part of the passage when Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?” The responses of the disciples don’t call to mind a warm, fuzzy Jesus who is a comforting and close friend. The comparisons that the disciples use call to mind the prophets of old who stood opposed to wicked kings and fearlessly spoke God’s word to both rebellious kings and people.
Then Jesus switches gears and asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Up to this point they’ve seen Jesus do and say some miraculous things. They’ve seen something more in Jesus that goes beyond the prophets of old. They’ve seen in Jesus something of the long-promised Messiah.
No one knew exactly what the Messiah would be like and how He would arrive and there were many thoughts and theories regarding what the Messiah would do. However, everyone knew that with the arrival of the Messiah, the kingdom of God would break into the world in amazing ways, but in doing so the Messiah was bound to face hostility from Jewish authorities as well as Rome itself.
We’ve already Jesus come into conflict with the religious leaders in the previous chapters.
So we can understand why it’s no small thing when Peter confesses Jesus to be the Messiah, “You are the Christ.” In that confession Peter, along with the other disciples as they continue to stand by Jesus, are aligning themselves with Jesus; they are confessing Jesus as the true King of Israel, the one that the people of God had been waiting for, and that will put them at odds with the authorities of the day.
In response to Peter’s confession, Jesus strictly charges the disciples to tell no one about Him. Things are about to change as we move into the second half of Mark’s Gospel.
Change. That’s what happens as we pursue our relationship with Jesus. Everything changes. Entrusting our lives to Jesus is not just a one-off, place a check in that box and you’re good to go thing.
If you’re going to follow Jesus, then you need to be ready for a process of change and transformation. It’s not always easy, but it is always good, and it’s a process that we continue to press into until the day that we see Jesus face to face.
Are you ready?
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers!