What Do You See?

The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And [Jesus] cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.” (Mark 8:14-26)

After warning his disciples about the Pharisees’ yeast, we’re told a story about how Jesus healed a blind man. Why? Jesus asked his disciples if they were blind. Then he reminded them about how he had twice fed large crowds. The healing of the blind man illustrated Jesus’ point.

Of all the healings that are recorded in the Bible, this is the only one where the healing occurred in stages. Jesus put spit on the blind man’s eyes, asked him how he was doing, then touched his eyes a second time before he was completely healed.

Twice Jesus fed thousands. Twice Jesus worked to heal the blind man. Jesus’ disciples, like that blind man, were slow to perceive. They understood his words like the blind man first saw people as trees. Only later did he see clearly. Only later did the disciples understand.

If God needs us to understand something, he’ll do whatever is necessary to enlighten us. He’ll never give up, either. He’s a patient teacher.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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