22 Then they came to Bethsaida; and some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch him. 23 Taking the blind man by the hand, He led him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but [they look] like trees, walking around.” 25 Then again Jesus laid His hands on his eyes; and the man stared intently and [his sight] was [completely] restored, and he began to see everything clearly. 26 And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
Jesus heals the blind man in Bethsaida – Mark’s gospel, chapter 8 verses 22 – 26
There are three things that strike me about the blind man’s encounter with Jesus.
1. He was willing to get out of his comfort zone – his village, his familiar location – and follow Jesus to receive his healing.
Jesus took the blind man out of the village. Sometimes God will take us out of our comfort zone to receive His grace in a different way. We may have the faith to receive, but the influence of other people can dilute our ability to grow in faith and trust in God.
Sometimes God has a special call on our lives. It means that we just have to stop following the crowd that’s following Jesus and get into our own space with Him. It may well be that the Bible study group or church service is no longer nourishing you spiritually.
- Is it possible that God is calling you to a new ministry, a higher level of spiritual awareness, or to forge a spiritual path that is different from your peers?
It takes courage and faith to step away from conventional ways of doing things, to step away from the expected path. It is comforting to know that Jesus works with the faith that we have.
2. The blind man surrendered to Jesus’ unconventional way of healing and therefore grew his faith in God.
Unlike other healing events, Jesus healed the blind man in phases.
Firstly, Jesus spat on the blind man’s eyes. In ancient cultures, saliva was widely believed to have healing properties. Realizing that the blind man may have been struggling in faith, Jesus appealed to the man’s belief in human healing and to his growing faith in the supernatural healing power of God.
The blind man took a first step of faith by saying what he saw – men as trees walking – which seemed bizarre, but he answered Jesus’ question honestly and kept trusting, even though he did not see exactly as he was expecting to see.
- I believe that the blind man’s honesty opened the way for his complete healing.
Jesus then used a simple touch to encourage the man to extend his faith fully in God. Instead of being satisfied with the partial healing, the blind man continued to trust Jesus to heal him and he ‘looked intently’ such that his vision was restored perfectly.
3. He accepted Jesus’ charge to start a new life elsewhere.
When his vision was fully restored, Jesus sent the healed man to his home, not back to the village, and not tell anyone there.
I suspect that going back to the village would have been a return to the past, which was not the place where the previously blind man would have flourished. When God takes us away from our comfort zone and grows our faith elsewhere, it is usually because He wants us to forge a new path and do new things. Too often when we have a life-transforming experience, there is the tendency to repeatedly recount how we got to where we are, and not focus on what we have been called to do.
- The intention of any transformation is to enable and empower us to live and serve differently.
The blind man’s expectation was only to have Jesus touch him. He was expecting to have his sight restored so that he could live a normal life. The restoration of the blind man’s sight turned out to be a call to live a new life in a new place.
Although we don’t know what eventually happened to the man with the restored sight, we would do well to learn from this miracle, that God’s blessings are not only for us, but to be used to serve Him in new ways. Being open to God’s direction, stepping out in faith, even if you feel afraid, will lead to an amazing, enriched life and ministry.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s why glory matters.