Summary: Jesus asks "Who do you say I am?" Like the blind man Jesus wants to heal us so that we can see the full truth.
DO YOU SEE ANYTHING?
A few years ago I went to Israel for a conference. I had a day off and wanted to get out and see the sights but I had very little money and did not know how to go about booking a bus tour. I figured I would just go down and sit at the front desk of the hotel and wait for one of the many church tour groups who were in Israel at the time and ask if I could tag along. I had heard that there was a large group from a Southern Baptist church that was at the hotel. Sure enough a blond American woman with a Southern accent came down to the desk and I overheard that their tour group was going to the Dead Sea and Masada that day. I introduced myself, saying I was a pastor from a church in Kuwait and asked, if they had room, could I tag along with their group. She went and asked the tour leader and came back saying that they would love to have me join them. I boarded the bus full of anticipation. They asked an older elder from their church to say a prayer before we left. “What a wonderful old saint” I remember thinking. I was excited to be getting out to see the sites.
The bus had left Jerusalem and was near Jerico when the woman I had met at the front desk asked me about the church I was pastoring. She said “I didn’t know that WE had a church in Kuwait”. That word WE struck me as unusual. Then she asked what year I had graduated from Brigham Young University. Suddenly it dawned on me – I was on a tour with Mormons! What I thought was one thing ended up being something quite different.
Sometimes life is like that. We go along life’s road thinking we see everything perfectly only to realize latter that our understanding of the world around us was actually very wrong.
When contact lenses were still a novelty, a woman was pulled over by the police. Checking the motorist’s license, the policeman noted, "It says you’re required to wear glasses." "It’s OK officer, I have contacts," the driver explained. "I don’t care who you know," the officer growled. "You still have to wear your glasses."
How good is your vision? In physical terms this is an easy thing to find out - in spiritual terms it is not always so easy. Vision is sometimes a subjective thing. When I was in first year University I thought my vision was fine. I had not been for an eye test since I had received my driver’s license years before. I was driving one day and realized I was having trouble reading the signs far ahead. I got my first pair of glasses and only then did I understand everything I had been missing. Sometimes we are like that in our spiritual journey. We think our vision is fine until God reveals something to us and shows us what true clarity is like. How well do you see and understand Christ this morning?
Mark 8:22 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 go into 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 Christ."
The background to this story is important. Jesus has just fed the 4000. When they leave He warns the disciples against the “yeast” of the Pharisees but the disciples don’t understand what Jesus is saying. Jesus asks them about the feeding of the 5000 and 4000 and asks the question, "Do you still not see or understand... Do you have eyes but fail to see...?" (Mark 8:17-18). The issue seems to be about clarity. The disciples saw in part, but they had not yet grasped the full truth.
1. Seeing in Part - (22-24)
In this story, Jesus touches the man’s eyes and asks if he saw EI TIS which in Greek means ANYTHING. In other cases Jesus simply spoke as with Bartimaeus and there was instant healing (Luke 18:35-43). With the man born blind in John 8:6 Jesus used spit mixed with dirt as mud and after the man washes in the pool he could see perfectly. This is the only story in which there is partial healing. Certainly Jesus had the power to heal the man completely, but there was a lesson to be learned - a case study for the disciples?