What Will You Do with What You’ve Got?

blind man
Photo credit: Rollan Budi

Mark 8:22-26

When they landed at Bethsaida, the folks there brought a blind man to Jesus and hounded Jesus about healing him. So Jesus took the blind man and led him by the hand out of town. Jesus rubbed some spit on his eyes and asked, “Can you see anything?”

The man looked around and said, “I see people. They look like walking trees.”

So Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes again, and this time when he looked again his sight was restored, and he saw clearly.

“Now, don’t go back to the village,” Jesus said, and sent him directly home.

First, the Pharisees (legalists) wanted a miracle. Then the disciples (students) wanted a miracle. Now, as they disembark, the village people want a miracle.

Unlike the first two cases, though, Jesus obliges here. Why?

In the first two cases, there was no point. Either it was an obvious setup, or it was ignorant selfishness. And, in this case, too, it’s pretty clear that all the people really want is to see a show. Bread and circuses.

In this case, there really is a point. The blind man. The villagers regard him as nothing but a nuisance on most days, and today perhaps their ticket to see something entertaining. A pawn. An expendable person. But to Jesus, there is no such thing as an expendable person.

But. Jesus takes him out away from the town to do this. He refuses to satisfy the crowd’s lust for entertainment. Just as it’s not about bread, neither is it about circuses. So, the blind man sees, but the villagers who wanted to see miss out. And, the blind man sees clearly, as opposed to Jesus’ own students who he has just chewed out for being too blind to see what Jesus was doing.

Adding to the impact of Mark’s assertion that he saw clearly, for the first time in the gospel someone who has been healed and ordered not to tell, doesn’t. He doesn’t just see. He gets it.

For the third time, it’s not about the miracles. It’s about what you do with what you’ve got.