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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Look Again

Friends, this passage has me so engrossed that I know a sermon is in a just a few of my thoughts.  I pray that it is a blessing. 

“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 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)

I know all too well what it means to struggle to see clearly.  It started in the second grade, when I began having trouble seeing the chalkboard. Even now as an adult, if I’m not wearing my contacts or my glasses…well, just forget about me seeing anything clearly.  In addition to my experiences with struggling to see in the natural realm, I find this text particularly intriguing because I’m in a space of (re) discovering, (re) examining and (re) imagining divine possibilities and promises. 

The text says some people brought this blind man to Jesus and begged Jesus to touch him.  We have no indication from the text that the man had any desire to be healed.  It could have been that he was comfortable in his condition. It is very well plausible that he was content with the status quo.  However, there were some in community with him who apparently saw (no pun intended) what this man needed, even if he did not want to / could not / or had no desire to.  Thank God for those who care enough to lead us to a place of healing, even if we are too weak to admit, too proud to confess it, too ignorant to be aware of it or to blind to see it.  Thank God for friends who plead to Jesus to touch us.

As much as his friends wanted to help him, there was only so much they could do.  There was only so far they could take him. They recognized their limitations and provided what they could, but ultimately took him to the one who could do what they could not.  Jesus responds to their request, takes the man by the hand and leads him out of the village.  How comforting to know that in the midst of our condition, Jesus reaches out to us.  The text says that Jesus leads the man away from the crowd.   Sometimes our healing will take place in isolation – away from those who are familiar with our condition…away from those people and places with which we are familiar…away from the situations that lull us into complacency. This man trusts Jesus to take him to an unknown place and to do an unusual thing to bring about his healing.  Jesus puts saliva on the blind man’s eyes and touches him again.  Sometimes our healing comes through humiliating experiences.  Imagine this man not knowing how this healing would take place, unable to see what Jesus was actually doing.  He could only feel the wet sensation on his eyes.  Jesus then asks the man if he could see anything. The man replied I see people, but they look like trees.  We have our first indication that he was not always blind.  He was able to see before, but something happened.  What is blinding us from seeing the promises of God?  What prevents us from clearly seeing the possibilities for our lives?

Jesus had to touch him again, the text says, he looked intently and his sight was restored.  Sometimes we expect our breakthrough to happen instantly, but just like our sanctification, there needs to be a process.  The text says he looked intently (other versions say he made him look up).  His vision was restored and he saw everything clearly.  Experiences have a way of clouding what we see. Disappointments have a way of blinding us to what God has said.  Interestingly enough this text comes after Jesus has taught crowds, performed miracles and yet the disciples still have difficulty perceiving (seeing) what is happening. What happens when life presents us with situations that appear contradictory to what we believe God has promised?  My prayer is that we are in a community of believers who will lead us to where we can’t take ourselves and ask God to touch us.  My prayer is that we are not so consumed, depressed or overwhelmed that we can’t take look again.

I pray that whatever we have allowed to eclipse our view of you and your promise for our lives be removed.  Forgive us for focusing so intently on that thing/those issues that we have lost sight of you.  Take us to a place where we can be intentional about seeing you again. 

Abounding in Love and Growing in Grace,