A sad thing happened on the way across the Sea of Galilee. After feeding five-thousand men and their families with five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:30-44), and then feeding four-thousand men and their families with seven loaves and a few fish (Mark 8:1-10), Jesus and His disciples got into the little boat. Peter, James, John and the other “disciples had forgotten to take bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat ... They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread” (Mark 8:14–16). I can almost hear Peter say, “I’m hungry, but John forgot the bread!” “Aware of this, (Jesus) said to them, ‘Why are you discussing the fact you have no bread? Don’t you understand or comprehend? Do you have hardened hearts? Do you have eyes and not see; do you have ears and not hear? And do you not remember? ... Don’t you understand yet?’ ” (Mark 8:17–18, 21).
The disciples had lived in Jesus’ shadow for about two years. They had listened to his teaching and seen the power of God displayed in His miraculous deeds, yet they couldn’t see the big picture. They knew that Jesus was a great teacher. They even understood that God had sent Him as the Messiah. Later in Mark’s eighth chapter, while visiting Caesarea Philippi, Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29), “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). But then Jesus “began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him” (Mark 8:31–32). The disciples could see, but they just couldn’t see clearly and completely... yet.
Maybe that’s why Jesus healed the blind man at Bethsaida in this manner. “They brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village. Spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people—they look like trees walking.’ Again Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes. The man looked intently and his sight was restored and he saw everything clearly’ ” (Mark 8:22-25).
After Jesus had led the blind man out of the village, and after “spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him,” the man could see, but not clearly and completely. He could see, but people looked like trees. His vision wasn’t clear. But when Jesus touched him again, “his sight was restored and he saw everything clearly!”
Much later, after the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, when He appeared to the disciples in the upper room, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). Finally, they could see clearly and completely. When Jesus met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, (Jesus) interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures... Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him” (Luke 24:27, 31).
We’re like the blind man. Jesus has compassionately touched us with His saving grace. He has given us His Living Word and His Holy Spirit as the teacher of truth. By faith, our vision can be clear and complete! And folks, there’s no reason for us to be like the disciples in the boat. We shouldn’t worry about having enough bread! Jesus is in the boat with us. That’s enough!
Personal Note: I’m planning to spend the last week of 2021 resting and catching up on a few end-of-the-year projects, so my next blog will come to you on Monday, January 3, 2022. I pray that God will bless you with a very Merry Christmas and that 2022 will be filled with good tidings and great joy!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.