Here’s the next block in the Bible Sampler quilt.
This passage in Mark chapter eight tells of Jesus healing the blind man in Bethsaida. Actually, He took the man by the hand and walked him outside of town to perform this miracle in private. Jesus spit right into the man’s eyes, and laid His hands right on the man’s face, twice, to perfect his vision.
That’s a lot of touch, up close and personal. Maybe I’m noticing this because we are living through a pandemic-driven time of social distancing and germaphobia. But the previous accounts of Jesus healing the sick and dying didn’t involve so much personal contact. There’s a touch of the hand, or just a word. And Jesus wasn’t anywhere near when He healed the centurion’s servant.
This is reminding me that Jesus isn’t limited by ritual or form. He can heal, or cast out, or revive back to life, any old way He wants to. I think He is more interested in our faith outcome than in the physical outcome. For some, He chooses a hands on approach. Others need to be given a task, like the leper showing himself to the priest. And some don’t need any touch at all. The centurion had faith enough that Jesus chose to heal his servant remotely.
Each miraculous event was unique according to the situation. And Jesus would give them stern orders to keep it to themselves. He told this blind man to go directly home, and bypass the village. Jesus tried so hard to keep things quiet, but of course word quickly spread and needy, desperate crowds grew larger and larger. I think Jesus saw this as a sidebar to His primary purpose of teaching and revealing how He would eternally heal us once and for all in due time. I’m sure He also felt the urgency to prepare the apostles for their future ministries. Time was always of the essence. But His compassion got the better of Him, and there are over 40 accounts of miraculous healings in the gospels.
I don’t remember a time when I could see 20/20 without glasses. I got my first pair in second grade for nearsightedness, and I remember the doctor saying they were long overdue. My frames were blue, and cat eye style. The lenses were thick and made my eyes look little. I hated them, and remember with clarity that my self image tectonically shifted from positive to negative the moment I put them on.
But I also remember the surprise. For the first time, I could see the individual leaves on the trees. That was what I kept telling my mom as I marveled at the view outside my window on the car ride home.
Today, if I take off my glasses, people would look just like trees walking around. My prescription has numbers that put me in the “legally blind” category without correction. I think it’s awesome that Jesus took extra care and time to correct the blind man’s vision all the way to 20/20.
I know that we are all figuratively nearsighted. We try to work out how to be the church on Earth until we get to go to our eternal home. We mean well, but we mess up, we get things wrong, and we keep trying.
I Corinthians 13:12 says: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I have been fully known.”