Mark 8:23-25 [Jesus] took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
It is good to look at this account in the context of when it happened. The disciples had just failed to ‘get’ the real meaning of the warning Jesus had given them about the danger of the ‘yeast’ of the Pharisees and Herod (15-17). He challenged them, “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?” (18). His warning is clear. It is possible for us to have access to all the ‘information’ we need through our senses, and yet still completely MISS the point of what God is wanting to communicate to us.
We talk about a ‘light bulb’ moment, when ‘the penny drops’ (to mix a couple of metaphors), and we finally ‘see’ what really should have been obvious to us all along! Our problem, of course, is the residual effect of sin in our natural lives. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers [or over-complacent believers (?)], so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4). As the LORD himself warned Isaiah at the outset of his prophetic ministry, “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’” (Isaiah 6:9).
The two-stage healing of the blind man is an object lesson for us of the need to keep on READING God’s Word, and MEDITATING on it DAILY (Psalm 1), as the Holy Spirit enables us to GROW in our spiritual understanding. Theologically, this process is called ‘sanctification’. We can probably all relate to this need in our own life experience – I certainly can. How often do we become complacent in our Christian lives, thinking that we ‘know it all’, that we’ve ‘got it all together’ in our HEADS – yes, we UNDERSTAND, and suddenly the Holy Spirit graciously convicts us in our HEARTS of some basic truth that we have missed! May the Lord grant us all TEACHABLE hearts, lest we press on, contented in the mist of just seeing ‘people … like trees walking around’!