Today’s Word: ‘8:22’ as in… the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, verse 22.
I had a really illuminating conversation with some friends last week. We pulled apart Mark’s ancient story about Jesus’ interaction with “a blind man.”
(btw… you’ll need to pay close attention to my use of ‘single quotation marks’ going forward. They’re there intentionally.)
When Jesus and his followers arrive in Bethsaida, Jesus is all about ‘making clear,’ ‘shedding light on,’ ‘illuminating,’ ‘furthering understanding’ (get it?) about who he is and what he’s doing there. See how it always comes back to identity and purpose?
Mark tells us that “Some people brought ‘a blind man’ to Jesus, and begged (implored!) him to touch him.” This reveals so much about this community of people.
Why did they do this?
Maybe, just maybe they wanted nothing more than to get this guy off the street corner. Begging day in and day out for absolutely everything he needed was most certainly a drain on the economy. But what if he had his sight back? Could he then potentially find employment, maybe even help others do the same, adding to the wellbeing of the entire community?
Maybe. Just maybe.
Or maybe, just maybe this tells us more about the depth of friendship, awareness, compassion and love among this small group of friends, than it does about the man who couldn’t see any of that (yet). This was a small group of people who ‘looked out’ for each other. They were ‘eyes wide open’ about the needs of their small community. They had ‘gained new insights’ about looking out for one another.
Maybe. Just maybe.
Compassion drove them to bring this man to the rabbi whom they had heard was healing people and helping people see. Maybe, just maybe this was a small group who had begun to ‘see everything about everything’ from a completely different perspective! They had become a community who discovered that compassion and love for others – whether they knew them or not – could change the dynamics of the wider community.
If this is merely a story about Jesus fixing this guy’s eyes, then we’ve lost sight of what the larger message is; we’re certainly not seeing all that is really there for us to see.
Maybe. Just maybe. Well, probably.