Some people brought a blind man to (Jesus) 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. (Mark 8:22-25 NRSV)
Today we have another story of Jesus helping a blind man to see. We can find so much significance and meaning in these stories about seeing, can’t we? We see not only with our physical vision, we also “see” with our imaginations or our dreams. We “see” when we understand, comprehend, realize or discern. We “see” when we discover a deeper or hidden meaning. Through the Spirit, Jesus continues to restore, improve, and clear our vision for all of these different ways to see.
There was a time when I wished that God would show me visible signs like the ones the biblical heroes were given- especially when I needed to make a difficult or major decision. I desperately wanted a burning bush. I wanted an angel to visit. I wanted a dream, or a rainbow, or a sheer silence, or even a blinding light. Now I recognize that often the answers were already within me; I was only afraid to face them.
We no longer need to see an outside sign from God, because God’s wisdom, direction, and inspiration are within each of us. Jesus has given us his Spirit to serve as our guide. The Spirit is here to help us see more clearly and distinctly as we discern how to live our days. Today’s story of the blind man provides valuable truths and practices that will better enable us to let the Spirit sharpen our inner vision.
First, Jesus took the blind man away from the village. Perhaps he wanted to eliminate as many distractions as he could. When we wish for clarification or understanding, we would do well to eliminate our distractions and spend time alone with Jesus. Our eyes and our souls can only absorb so much- how much better we are to keep our focus on Jesus.
Next, Jesus asked the man, “Can you see anything?” Jesus wanted to know how much the man already saw, so that he could complete the rest of his healing work. This question can also become an invitation for us to notice what we are already able to see… the things we have already discerned, the things we currently know about ourselves or the situation, the things that have been revealed to this point. We can specifically name the issues that are still blurry or unclear and ask for his help with those. (“I am feeling led to serve in this area, but I cannot see the next step to take… “)
Finally, we read that the man “looked intently” and then was able to see very clearly. We look intently when we actively pay attention, when we earnestly watch where God is moving, when we lovingly seek Jesus. We look intently when we pray, when we listen, when we study God’s word. Where we place our attention determines what we see.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Can you see anything?”
Is there something you have been noticing that you would like to bring to Jesus for clarity? Is this a time to ask him to remove whatever is blinding you from his vision for you? What current distractions are taking your focus off Christ? How might you look more intently at Jesus? What clarifications do you hope to see today?
Can you see anything?