I Can See Clearly Now!
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
“And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” Mark 8:22-25
What an interesting story recorded in the Gospels concerning the two-part healing of a blind man. As far as I can tell, this is the only occasion in Scripture in which Jesus did not immediately heal a person with a singular word or act but, rather, incrementally restored the one needing help. Not wanting to read into a narrative that is not there, I tread carefully in order to submit some thoughts that came to mind regarding what it means to receive clarity from the Lord.
We begin with the man who couldn’t see. Every day was night to this poor soul — never a sunrise, never a smiling face, never a joyous picture — just permanent darkness. To make things worse, typically in Bible times, the disabled were not well cared for by those within their family or society. But on this particular occasion, some friends or loved ones who cared deeply for the man brought him to Jesus and begged Jesus to do something to change his life situation. In short, the man needed to be able to see and it was well known that Jesus of Nazareth was the miraculous, compassionate prophet.
With no explanation whatsoever for His methodology, Jesus sequesters the man for a private healing. Note the intimacy of the occasion: “He took the blind man by the hand.” The human touch of calloused carpenter fingers met the feeble hand of the blind man. At that moment, the man had to submit his direction to Christ. It is frightening for those who live in darkness to allow themselves to be led in complete abandon to One whom they do not yet know.
Once Jesus had the man alone outside of the village, He did something that we might find a little unsanitary — He spat upon the man’s eyes. This was human spit coming from the Son of God; He had determined that it would be part of His healing process. Again, no explanation for His methodology is given and none should be demanded. I find here that it was necessary for the blind man to not only submit his direction to Jesus but, now his dignity. Blind people who desire healing don’t care about saliva being rubbed in their eyes—so long as it gave them sight. Pride would not be a factor in the life of this man who desperately wanted to see. Dignity for sight? An easy trade-off. Not a word of protest was given as the moisture rested in his eyes.
After that odd activity, Jesus asked the man if he could now see. Listen to his answer: “I see men as trees, walking.” Don’t miss this! The man was beginning to see; blindness was leaving him and a rush of hope filled his soul. To see men as trees was much better than seeing nothing at all. How tempting to rejoice at the absence of darkness so much that he would have settled with blurred vision, yet this man with awakening eyes answered the question of Jesus as specifically as he could. He saw better, but he did not see perfectly. Wrapped within his answer was the humble tone of wanting more from the Master.
After hearing his response, Jesus acted quickly and again placed his hands upon those very same eyes. Full healing coursed through those fingers and the blind man’s vision was completely restored. Jesus had not only given sight, but clarity. The man now testified that he was able to see clearly. He awoke that morning in darkness, spent a short time with improved but unclear vision, but ultimately went home with perfect sight. No man would need to lead him by the hand — Jesus had enabled him to see for himself.
Perhaps today, you are no longer spiritually blind (II Corinthians 4:4,6), but you cannot clearly see what God is doing in your life. You discern some things, but they are not formed with clarity before you. The full picture with a step-by-step explanation is not laying on your desk or written down in a Heavenly email. You know that your Saviour is near, that He is working on you and within you. You feel His hands stripping away some of your dignity…but are you patiently waiting for Him to complete His perfect work? It is a great test of faith to abide while He works this for you. All too often, we want to see everything immediately and clearly! Blurred vision is a barrier because we have things to do, people to help, ministries to build, and mountains to scale.
My friend, rejoice that your former blindness is gone, but be still and trust that the hands that feel so calloused upon your life are the hands of a King who is steadily bringing clarity to you. Abide under His care whether you sense the indignity of spit or the clarity of full vision. The key is not that you see today, but that you trust Him today. Understanding will come and you will be glad that you remained under His care.