As we turn this week to Mark 8-12, we start off with a few passages showing the great power and ability Jesus has. There are two of the accounts I am drawn to in this mix. The first is the blind man, and the second is when Peter is reprimanded by Christ.
First the blind man. Upon his first attempt the blind man can only partially see. The touch of Jesus has restored his sight, but only partly. "The look like trees," is what the man says after the first time Jesus lays his hands on him. A second attempt appears to do the trick and the blind man is able to see perfectly. I have always been somewhat troubled by this passage. It seems the power of Jesus was limited. In almost all the other accounts of healing Jesus, speaks and things happen. With this situation Jesus works and things partially happen. Was Jesus just having an off day or is there something more. Perhaps it is the fault of the blind man. Perhaps he didn't have enough faith. A popular idea, simply not enough evidence, Jesus never comments on that, and we can read Jesus was never shy to tell people when their faith was weak. Could it simply by that there are times when we need more than one encounter with Jesus to work in our lives. Our faith is not a once and done situation. We need the ongoing touch of Jesus in order for us to see perfectly, no matter what out eyes can see.
Second is the rebuke of Peter. This passage always reminds me of Peter's boldness. Can you imagine, Peter has just told Jesus he is the Messiah, in the next breath he is being rebuked. The audacity of of Peter to try and rebuke the one whom you have just declared to be Messiah. Jesus rebuke Peter harshly for his audacity. They key is not in the rebuke but in the focus of Peter. Peter is looking with earthly eyes. Peter is not seeing with clear eyes, he needs another touch from Jesus. Not with hands, but with words Jesus reaches out to Peter. What follows is a hard teaching about needing to give up our lives to gain it. The whole premise of our life is that we are not our own, rather we follow Jesus in giving ourselves up so that we can gain full relationship with God.
Often we have vision problems. Our ability to see is impaired. We need another touch of Jesus.