Monday, February 20, 2012


He was blind. Every task a greater challenge. Eyes darkened to the beauty of God’s creation. Family and friends helped him--he longed to see their faces. Friends brought him to Jesus. They had heard that He had the power to heal the blind.

Jesus took him by the hand and led him out of the village. “He spit on his eyes and laid hands on him” (Mark 8:23). “He asked him, ‘Do you see anything?’ And he looked up and said, ‘I see men, but they look like trees, walking’ (Mark 8:24). It was only after Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again that he “saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:25).

What are we to make of this? Time after time Jesus had healed others immediately and completely. Here we have a gradual, two-fold, restoration of this man’s sight. There is no doubt that He could have done for this man what he had done for others. But nothing in Jesus’ ministry happened by accident. The miracle bore some kind of message. What could it be? The context holds the key.

Jesus asked his disciples “Who do people say that I am?” A variety of inadequate responses were offered. People were blind to the truth. Jesus’ then asked His disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). God revealed the truth to Peter. “You are the Christ” he declared (Mark 8:29). God opened Peter’s eyes to the truth and Jesus commended him in his response (Matthew 16:17). Peter’s eyes were opened—but not completely.

“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.” And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mark 8:31-33).

Peter’s eyes had been opened to the truth of Jesus’ identity but they were blind to the truth regarding His work. His mind was set, not on the things of God, but of man. He couldn’t understand how the Christ could suffer. The message of the cross was a stumbling block to him. And Jesus rebuked him in the sternest way possible. Later—at the time of Jesus’ arrest and trial—he would deny even knowing his master.

There would come a time in Peter’s life when his eyes would be opened completely to the truth regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection. It would come in God’s timing and by God’s revelation to him. He would then no longer see with clouded vision. He would fully embrace the message of the cross. He would declare it before great multitudes (Acts 2:23-24). He would declare it though threatened by the leaders to stop (Acts 4:18). He would ultimately suffer martyrdom for sake of the message he had previously decried.

Christ’s work in our lives is much like what happened to that blind man. The converted has his eyes opened to the truth regarding the identity of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of the God in the face of Christ.” A saving faith leads to some degree of understanding (1 Corinthians 2:12). But no one sees all things clearly—this side of heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12). Jesus made Himself known to us at the moment of saving faith. But our vision is still limited.

John Newton’s eyes were opened as a result of a great storm at sea. He experienced God’s mercy and seeds of faith were planted. “To all appearance I was a changed man,” he said. He quit swearing and started churchgoing. He studied religious books, took communion, and made a solemn spiritual commitment. Unfortunately those changes did not last. After several months he lapsed back into his old ways. He continued in the slave trade. It would be several years before his eyes were opened that he could see more clearly. It was only then that God worked a complete and lasting transformation in his life.

Jesus gives sight to blind sinners. And their eyes are opened to life-changing truths. But their vision remains imperfect still. In a progressive fashion their vision is perfected as their minds are renewed. One day they will see clearly—they will see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2). And they will marvel at what they see (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

Pastor Jerry

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