23 Having taken the blind man by the hand, he led him outside the village. After he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 24 The man looked up and said, “I see people that look like trees walking around.” 25 Then Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes again. His eyes were opened, his vision was restored, and he began to see everything clearly. 26 When Jesus sent him home, he said, “Don’t even go into the village” (Mark 8:23-26).
Despite its brevity, this account of Jesus healing a blind man in two stages represents a pivotal moment in the Gospel of Mark. From this point on Jesus will zero in his teaching to explain the defining climax of His earthly life and ministry—the cross. Like the blind man at Bethsaida, moreover, Jesus’ disciples only come to understand the significance of the cross gradually, in stages.
Peter, for example, was perfectly willing to confess Jesus as the Messiah. Yet when Jesus tried to explain that it would be necessary for the Messiah to suffer, Peter actually rebuked Jesus! Peter’s confession of Jesus as Messiah (8:29), while true, was still lacking in clarity and coherence—much like the blind man’s initial sight of people as tall as trees. He could see, but his vision was still distorted. Far too often, like Peter, we settle for a fuzzy, incomplete image of Jesus, instead of pursuing the clear-eyed faith that Jesus calls us to develop.
To develop clear-eyed faith we must be willing to let Jesus lead us beyond the narrow confines of our comfortability. The blind man surely must’ve felt some hesitancy about leaving the village he had learned to navigate. But he went where Jesus led (8:23a). Mere proximity to Jesus will not suffice. Simply attending more worship service or Bible studies will never automatically give us clear-eyed faith. These actions will only produce clear-eyed faith when they’re coupled with a humble submission to Jesus’ leadership.
To eventually see Jesus clearly, we must also be willing to acknowledge when our vision becomes cloudy and confusing (8:23b-24). Jesus says, “Do you see anything?” How would you answer right now? What is consuming your spiritual vision? Fear? Ambition? Anger? Indifference? Moving toward clear-eyed faith demands that we regularly check in with ourselves to answer that question.
Exercising this kind spiritual openness to Christ will provide opportunities for us to see his love for us more clearly and be healed from our doubts, our insecurities, and our sins (8:25). In light of such a vision, may we never settle for what we knew before, no matter how comfortable it may have seemed (8:26). May Christ show us how to press on to see Him more and more clearly.