Can You See Clearly Now?

by May 30, 2018

Do you remember a time when your eyes were open to believe something that you hadn’t previously? I used to make fun of people in those inflatable air chairs at the beach. It just looked so silly. But then I encountered one, experienced one, took a nap in one, and now I’m totally a believer and own one. I went from being blind, to having clear sight, and now I can’t go back!

There are four seemingly different stories in Mark 8, but I believe that they’re related, and that God wants us to see them as related. And I believe that one of these stories helps us to understand the other three. Check out that story starting in Mark 8:22: They came to Bethsaida. 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. Then he sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.

This is a strange miracle, because of the progression of it. This man’s completely blind, has to be brought to Jesus, and then he has this encounter with Jesus and now he can kind of see things that look like trees walking around. Then Jesus touches him again, and the man can see clearly. Usually when Jesus heals someone, it’s an instant thing, but here it’s kind of like a process, a progression. And guys I think that idea helps us understand the rest of the chapter. Because Jesus could have healed him instantly, but he wanted us to see this progression, because that’s typically how God works in our lives to heal us spiritually. I mean, sometimes we hear these miraculous stories of someone’s eyes being instantly opened to who Jesus is. But for most of us, God works slowly, through a process, that looks more like gradual growth. And that’s what we see in the rest of these stories.

Some People Are Totally Blind
In Mark 8:11ff, the Pharisees look at Jesus, and they just don’t at all see who he really is. They ask Jesus for a sign, but one more sign wouldn’t change their lack of faith. They don’t believe that Jesus is God, that he’s the promised savior of the world that God promised to send back in Genesis 3 and through Abraham and Jacob and David and to the prophets in the Old Testament. That don’t have faith, instead, they’re filled with pride. That may seem harsh, because it seems like they’re just asking Jesus to give them a sign so that they’ll believe. But think about what that’s actually communicating. It’s like telling God, “If you meet my requirements, THEN I’ll believe in you. If you do something that I demand, then I’ll have faith.” That’s putting themselves in the place of God, and making God meet their demands. And that’s symptomatic of a totally blind person. Do you ever do this? Do you ever demand that God bend to your standards, that God be what you want him to be? Do you ever say, “God if you’ll just do this, then I’ll never…” I had super bad acne, God if you’ll take it away, then I’ll never lie again! That’s exposing that we can’t trust God if he doesn’t do what we want him to do. Does your faith in God depend on him conforming to your image of him? That’s pride. That’s blindness. That was the Pharisees. 

Some People Are Partially Blind
In Mark 8:14ff, the disciples have encountered Jesus, they’re growing, but it’s kind of like a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. It’s like the blind man being able to see, but not really make out reality yet. Everything looks like trees walking around. The disciples definitely see Jesus as a special person, someone worth hanging around and even bending their lives toward his, but they don’t totally trust or depend on him yet. All this time around Jesus and they still couldn’t see very well. But guys following Jesus is all about growth. None of us has arrived. You’d think you’d arrived if you became one of these twelve followers of Jesus. Nope. There’s still a lot of growth to happen. There’s more ignorance in us that we know about. But, in this progression of growth…

Some People Can See Clearly
But then in Mark 8:27, Peter has this clarity of sight. He sees clearly, Jesus is the Messiah! Jesus God’s promised savior of the world who has come to defeat sin and death and Satan and set people free and create a people who are forgiven and love him and each other. It IS Jesus.

But what was the difference? I mean, you’d expect the Pharisees to be able to see this. The Pharisees are the super religious people. The ones memorizing the Old Testament, being extremely devout with their lives. Why are they the blind ones and the disciples, these kind of rejects, are growing toward clear sight? Because, number 4…

Jesus Gives Sight
Jesus provided the sight, just like he did for the blind man. The blind man was brought to Jesus, encountered Jesus, and Jesus did the healing. And that was the difference between the Pharisees and the disciples. The disciples stuck around Jesus, and Jesus stuck around them. When Jesus didn’t fit what the Pharisees wanted him to be, they walked away from him, even decided to kill him. But the people who stuck around Jesus, he gave them sight. He healed them. Both groups were broken. Neither was more spiritual. This world is just a bunch of broken, faithless people and one good, faithful person named Jesus. And the only reason that any of us has faith is because Jesus stays with us. Not because we’ve figured it out. 

Where are you at in this process? Are you at the blind stage, not believing that Jesus is God and can save you? Are you starting to see him more and more, but it’s fuzzy? Or has he given you clear sight?