Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mark 8:22-32

By Josh Taylor

This passage is rather unique in that Jesus heals the blind man in two stages.

At first the blind mans vision is fuzzy and to him people look like "walking trees".
Why does Mark mention that there are two stages? One biblical scholar suggests this:

-As the healing of the blind man requires two stages, we see also in the understanding of the disciples two stages:
1) That Jesus is the Messiah.
2) That Jesus must suffer.

(Ira Brent Driggers cited in Mark by William C. Placher)

Miracles such as this healing of the blind man that Jesus performs are signs of the kingdom: a breaking in of God's rule and reign which brings restoration and healing to this good yet broken creation.

The surprise is that this kingdom that Jesus announces and enacts is brought through Jesus' death on a cross. Mark continually points us toward the cross. Here in this passage we are reminded that like the disciples we don't always comprehend God's way of doing things: like the blind man our vision is blurred.

Lent is a time where we seek to receive clarity about what it meant for Jesus to suffer and die.

One understanding of what Jesus did on the cross (theological term= atonement) is that of his substitutionary death: The one who represents true humanity, was slain and presented before God on behalf of all humanity so that we may be reconciled to God.

A poem for clarity of vision:

Present, by Luci Shaw (taken from Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross: Contemporary Images of Atonement, edited by Mark D. Baker, page 160)

At light-speed, God-speed,

time collapses into now so that

we may see Christ’s wounds as

still bleeding, his torso,

that ready sponge, still

absorbing our vice, our toxic shame.

He is still being pierced

by every hateful nail

we hammer home. In this

Golgotha moment his body-

chalice for the dark tears

of the whole world-brims

spilling over as his lifeblood

drains. His dying into the earth

begins the great reversal-

as blood from a vein leaps

into the needle, so with his rising,

we surge into the light.

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