Fuzzy Sight - Mark 8:22-38

“Who do people say I am?”
“Who do you say I am?”
Peter got it right that day – “You are the Messiah.” Peter had seen Jesus heal the blind (they see) the lame (they walk) and set free prisoners. But Peter, trained to view the world through traditional Jewish eyes, would never have expected the Messiah to suffer! So when Jesus starts telling them that he would have to suffer and be rejected (even more) by the religious leaders and eventually be killed and rise again…well, Peter was put off, “Heaven forbid, Lord! This will never happen to you!”

Jesus sharply responds, “Get behind me Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s”

For 2 ½ years Jesus has chipped away at Peter’s naiveté and pre-conceived (yet erroneous) notions of the Messiah. The poor and destitute flock to him while the priests and religious scholars plot to kill him. The ones whose eyes should be trained to see him, have totally missed him.

Jesus has just healed a blind man at Bethsaida. On the outskirts of the village, Jesus spit on the man’s eyes, laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”
“Yes…but the people look like trees walking around.”
Jesus placed his hands over the man’s eyes again. And as the man stared intently, his sight was completely restored!

This is not a story about whether Jesus was powerful enough to heal the man. Nor do I think it’s included in scripture just to encourage us (especially us in the West) that Jesus sometimes chooses to heal “progressively.” The placement of this story is no mistake. As in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.

Right before Jesus asks his disciples to declare who he is, they still do not see fully. They still have a “fuzzy” perception of who he is and how he will function. Again, the Messiah, according to their Jewish tradition, would come riding in on a white horse to save his people. In a short time, he’ll come riding in on a donkey! The people wondered if this miracle working man from Nazareth would deliver them from the oppressive Roman Empire. So when Peter rebukes Jesus, “Never” Jesus says, “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s”

It’s all about seeing. Not that we live by sight, because we know we are to live by faith, not sight. But Paul prays for the Ephesians that the “eyes of their hearts” might be opened so that they can know him better. Jesus is in the process of helping us to see spiritually more clearly – to behold new wineskins, not merely manmade fabrications of tradition and comfortable theology.

Peter got the Messiah part right – but he was fuzzy on how that would play out. Most of us get the “Jesus is God” part right – but are equally as fuzzy when it comes to seeing how that might include putting aside our selfish ambition, shouldering our cross and following him – even when it remains a bit fuzzy and incomprehensible. We are so easily tempted to view life and God from our human, finite perspective that has a propensity for self, comfort, safety and pleasure.
“If you give up you life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”
What’s so fuzzy about that?
So today, Lord, how may I give up a selfish desire for your sake and for the sake of the Gospel? I know that doing so is not an innocuous, isolated or random act. I know that doing this pushes back the effects of the fall. I know too, it will raise the ire of the enemy.
You are Messiah – and I do still have fuzzy eyes that often prefer a finite view of you. You’re “safer” that way. But I want to continue to stare intently at you and your word til I can see you rightly and follow you courageously.

Paula GambleComment