They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” (Mark 8:22–26)
Sight—correct vision—is Christ’s gift to his children. Since the first words of God —‘let there be light’—God has been working to give his children sight. These words were spoken by Christ at the dawn of time, for John in his gospel insists that ‘through him all things were made’, and furthermore, John also says that when Jesus came into the world, he was light incarnate—‘the true light that gives light to everyone’. In a world of darkness—especially religious darkness—John’s first-hand witness statement declares that Jesus’ primary message was ‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all’. Welcome news in a religious world that saw God as primarily judge and law-giver. ‘This vision of God as darkness,’ John is saying, ‘is wrong. You are seeing badly: God is light.’
Human vision regularly distorts reality. God gets the blame for all sorts of things, not least the mystery of evil—especially so when so many who claim to be representatives of ‘God’ walk in such evil and darkness. It seems to me that in these dark days we need to pray for the gift of sight, and this passage of Mark is worth exploring for it holds the key to new vision—20/20 vision of reality. When Mark edited his gospel, it seems to me that like John—who included seven acts of Christ in his account, calling them ‘signs’—Mark included this incident for the deeper truth of which it speaks. I would like to consider this.