Reading: Mark 8:22-30 NIV
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 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?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into[a] the village.”
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
If you’ve been following along, you may have noted that I picked up the proceeding scripture verses for today’s reflection. I am not trying to play the tricky professor. It is simply that sometimes we cannot understand what the text is telling us without stepping back and pondering the whole. In this case it seems vitally important. Much takes place before Peter’s rebuke.
The Lord is taken to aide a blind man. Deeply compassionate, Jesus goes to bring healing far from the scrutiny of village crowds. He goes because he understands the need and he loves! It is clear, that while Jesus is not seeking accolades, he wants us to pay attention as we are presented a beautiful glimpse of how Jesus humbled himself to relate on all levels of society.
Here, he used a folk remedy. Many ancient cultures believed saliva had healing properties and today there is science to back it up. This man would have comprehended that Jesus was offering a healing balm. Then, we note that Jesus had patience. This blind man’s healing happens gradually. Jesus, continued to work with him until he could literally see people as people! Now, let’s ponder that revelation a moment.
If God’s saving grace is at work in our lives, if we are following Jesus closely, one glorious fruit of this will be that we shall see people more clearly as God sees people! Not better than or lesser than, not to be used, not to be objectified, or neglected. We will see everyone, in the fullness of who they are as precious to God!
Now, we begin to see why Jesus gets so frustrated with Peter (vs. 29-33). It doesn’t matter who we say Jesus is to us if we don’t get who Jesus is for everyone! No matter what the indications may be that we know Jesus, if we do not see every soul as a beloved person made in the image of God, we are not getting who Jesus is or understanding his work of salvation for all.
Therefore, it is in this Pastor’s prayers this Lenten Season that we will reset our hearts on divine things, things that bring blessing for everyone and include all people.
Loving Lord of All,
It is so easy to see how your love blesses me! Save me from forgetting that your love desires that all people experience the blessing of knowing how much you love them and how worthy they are to be loved. Forgive me for the times I see what works well for me and am blind to how my actions or inaction may harm others. Open my eyes to see as you see. Set my heart on what is holy. Grant me the courage to follow you to the cross and beyond. Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and let it begin with my faithfulness in seeking your will. Amen
Rev. Vanessa LeVine
Pastor for Clinical and Regional Services at Methodist Healthcare Ministries and Clergy Member of Travis Park Church