They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23 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?” 24 And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.” – Mark 8:22-26 [NRSV]
Have you ever had a friend who brought you to Jesus? Those who know me will know of Jerry, my high school buddy. We met when he offered me a place to sit down while waiting for our first hour chemistry classroom to be opened. The place was the Central High School darkroom. Because I was on crutches at the time, a place to sit was a welcome thing. A darkroom was a compelling mystery inviting further investigation. Jerry was my lead, and the darkroom proved to be an introduction not only to photography, but even to a deeper connection with Jesus, and ultimately a calling. Jerry knew as a junior in high school that he was going to be a Lutheran pastor. He eventually opened my eyes to see that as my calling as well.
A place to sit, a darkroom, photography (he sold me his Minolta A5 camera), a deeper faith, and a lifelong calling: these were the gifts he gave me.
Friends brought the blind man to see Jesus, through whom the man was healed; able now to see. I wonder whether they had to cajole him to seek Jesus’ healing touch. I’m curious about the interaction. Was he ready to go? Did he ask them to take him? Was his gate more halting than normal on their way? Or did he eagerly keep urging them on?
We don’t know, although it is possible to conjecture about these things. It might prove enlightening as well to consider their motives, feelings, hopes, and fears as these events unfold. In fact, one edifying means of applying the truths of the Bible is to put yourself into the story. Are you one of the friends? Are you the blind man? Are you one of the disciples who watch this unfold? Are you one of the people that look like trees? There are many possibilities.
Having identified your place in this story, what do you learn about Jesus? What do you learn about blind people? Can you draw other conclusions about people in need? What of ways in which you may help others? Or do you learn something about expectations, faith, and honesty (see yesterday’s blog post)?
It might be enough that you consider people in your life who need a friend. Someone may need to be brought to Jesus. Someone may need to be urged to seek a healthier life. Someone may need you to join them in celebrating God’s blessings. Someone may just need a place to come and sit.