“I don’t have the big plan, just small glances
And every now and then I’m still unsure.”
~ Children 18:3 ~
Have you ever experienced an epiphany that instantly altered the entire way you see the world around you?
There’s a neat story tucked into the eighth chapter of Mark’s gospel (verses 22-26) about a blind man in an ancient town called Bethsaida. This guy’s friends brought him to Jesus who rolled into town with his disciples. Rumor had it that the traveling rabbi could do some crazy amazing stuff, so these friends begged him to do something about this blindness.
Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village where he then spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him. Kind of weird, but I guess he didn’t have time to run to Walgreens for some eye salve.
“Do you see anything?” asked Jesus.
“I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes again. This time, the guy’s sight was restored and he saw everything clearly.
Whether you read the Bible or not, that’s an interesting tale.
Here are 6 things this story makes me think about.
1. The response of Jesus.
Once this guy showed up with some faith that a miracle might be possible, Jesus grabbed him and said, “Let’s go.”
2. Did Jesus really have to spit on the guy’s face?
He does stuff like this more than once* and it seems really bizarre. I wonder if he was trying to show how intimate his healing touch was.
3. The guy’s vision still wasn’t fixed after the first attempt?
Since it worked on the second try I guess there’s a point to this as well. Sometimes we’re only given a glimpse I suppose. Jesus might have been sending a message to his disciples too. Just before this encounter took place, the boys had been confused as usual about stuff. Jesus asked them, “Do you have eyes but fail to see?” Sometimes we don’t get the full picture all at once just like sometimes the healing we require is gradual.
4. I believe that miracles happen.
I talk about this in my book, but the short version is that it’s not as much of a stretch as a skeptical person might think. Regardless of what any of us believe, we all have to acknowledge unexplained phenomena.
5. Once God spits in our face (figuratively) we see more clearly.
God won’t literally spit in our faces these days, but he uses things like funerals and pain as well as loving people and joy to help us see a little more clearly. When it comes to clarity throughout our lives we can be totally blind, have blurry vision, or see with absolute clarity. I think I’m somewhere in the middle but won’t rule out being completely blind in some key areas. After all, it’s hard to realize what you don’t see if you’ve never seen it before.
6. Our direction is likely to change after an intimate encounter with Jesus.
The story ends with Jesus sending the man home. Imagine how many times this guy had to be led home, unable to get there himself. Now he gets to go by himself. The freedom he received from what had long plagued him came with a new kind of independence that was fueled by God.
Have you ever heard this story? What do you think?
*Mark 7 or John 9 for example.