22 They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23 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?" 24 And the man looked up and said, "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking." 25Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Then he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even go into the village." Mark 8:22-26
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This quirky little story from Mark’s Gospel has long been a favorite of mine because it’s the only Jesus healing that doesn’t go as planned. Imagine! Here’s Jesus, the Son of God, the most powerful being in the universe, ready to amaze everyone with a miraculous healing of a blind man. But things go horribly wrong when, instead, the man reports that he can see people, “but they look like trees, walking.” So Jesus quickly takes a second crack at the healing and finally the man is able to see clearly.
Why did Mark include this story? Was it to embarrass Jesus or call his divinity into question? No. Instead, Mark shared this story to remind us that Jesus will go to any length to bless us. When the blind man’s sight was not perfectly restored, Jesus could have blamed it on the man and quickly moved on. But Jesus didn’t leave him to suffer. He kept working with the man until the man’s sight was fully restored. That’s grace and mercy in action!
It’s the same for us. When we get off-track in our faith, or our lives become snarled in bad decisions, Jesus won’t abandon us. No matter how many times it takes, Jesus will keep working with us until our vision clears and we can see things as he does. Why? Because he loves us and loves to bless us. Friends, Jesus never gives up on us. So don’t ever give up on Jesus, even when all we can see is a world filled with crazy walking trees.
Jesus, no matter how long it takes, help me see myself, my neighbor, and my circumstances clearly, so that I can love others the way you do. Amen.
Rev. Scott E. Schul
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.