Talk about messed up people. This poor dude had only one thing going for him... Friends... Buddies who believed that Jesus was omnipotent and could heal their helpless friend’s blindness. These friends boldly and faithfully brought their blind friend to Jesus.
This story occurred in Bethsaida about a year before Jesus’ crucifixion. Bethsaida was a smaller village close to the larger Capernaum on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum was the home of Peter, so Jesus had spent the previous two years leading the disciples others through and around Bethsaida and He’d performed countless miracles for its people.
Jesus had fed five-thousand men and their families just outside Bethsaida. They had been witnesses of God’s power, yet their daily lives remained unchanged. Apparently, they considered Jesus a miracle-working phenomenon, but nothing more.
Jesus, on an earlier occasion, “denounced the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent... Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you” (Matthew 11:20-22, ESV).
Wow! I’m glad I live in Amarillo!
So, Jesus “took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village” (Mark 8:22-26, ESV). What did Jesus think? Had the people of Bethsaida seen enough signs and wonders?
Privately, Jesus “took him by the hand” (Mark 8:23, ESV). That’s a comforting thought. The God of the universe takes us by the hand. Then Jesus apparently used His saliva to moisten and clean the man’s eyes, probably caked with filth. Do you sense the tenderness? Laying His hands on Him, He then asked, “Do you see anything?”
The reply came, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking” (Mark 8:24, ESV). In other words, “I see something, but what I see is a bit out of focus!”
I don’t think that the man’s immediate thought was, “Jesus, you’re a loser! You only fixed me halfway.” He hadn’t been able to see anything, and now he saw something. He must have thought, “Jesus, you’re amazing! I can see! Hallelujah!”
Jesus was more interested in the man’s faith than in his sight so when the Master recognized the man’s growing faith, “Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:25, ESV).
By the way, the man wasn’t an unbelieving resident of Bethsaida. Jesus “sent him to his home, saying, ‘Do not even enter the village’ ” (Mark 8:26, ESV).
Why did Jesus do this miracle in two stages? I’m not sure of Jesus’ motivation! He’s God! I’m not!
God declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV).
I’m okay with that! As my faith grows, maybe I’ll see a little more clearly.
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor