Today may feel like deja vu. Jesus again multiples bread to feed thousands. He again uses his own saliva to heal. The repetitiveness is not without purpose. In between, we see the disciples continuing to misinterpret Jesus. He warns them about the subtle influence of Herod and the Pharisees; they miss the metaphor and think he is scolding them for forgetting bread (right after he just miraculously produced a feast of thousands no less). The disciples’ slow journey toward understanding is reflected in the healing that immediately follows. At first, the man starts to see “people, but they look like trees walking.” He gets a glimpse, but things are still blurry and obscure. His healing is gradual; it doesn’t sink in all at once. Progress in knowing, loving, and following God takes time and repetition. Usually, we are more like the Pharisees, demanding clear and certain proofs. Our inclination to revert to easy ways, simple truths, and comfortable life is much stronger than our drive to seek the Way, Truth, and Life.
- Read Mark 8:1–26.
- Ask God for eyes to see, as well as patience and protection from forgetfulness.
- Once again watch the bread multiply and the crowds feast. Once again feel Jesus’ saliva on your face. Revisit these kids of miracles in your imagination, letting them inform and transform your understanding of who Jesus is.
- Reflect on the way Jesus leads his followers—step by step, patiently, and sometimes being somewhat secretive. There is almost always ambiguity. How do you experience his guiding and teaching in your life?
- Talk with Jesus as if you are the blind man halfway to sight. (This is where we all are anyway, perceiving things “through a glass, darkly.”) Don’t ask for signs and certainties like the Pharisees do. Instead, ask him to help you to see exactly as much as you need to see and understand exactly what you need to know.
About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC