26 – Seeing Things Clearly
And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
- The Christ: The Messiah, the one chosen by God
- Charged: Give a strong order
Have you ever thought that you understand something and then realise you have only seen half of the truth?
What does Jesus want to show by healing the man in this way?
The first part of this account is rather odd. Is something the matter with Jesus? The first time he heals the blind man, he sees a little, but not clearly. Therefore, Jesus has to put his hands on him again, and this time he is able to see clearly. What in the world is happening here? Sometimes Jesus does things which look strange in order to explain something to the disciples. When we carry on reading, we can see that this is the case here.
We have seen several times that the disciples do not seem to recognise who Jesus is. But now, when Jesus asks them who do they think he is, Peter gives the correct answer – Jesus is the Messiah. The one for whom the people were waiting, the one who was chosen by God to save and to set his people free. It looks like the disciples are beginning to see the truth. But they were really like the blind man who was able to see a little, whilst the details were unclear. When Jesus explains that he has to suffer, die, and then rise again, Peter shows that he does not understand. This isn’t what they expected to happen to the Messiah, therefore they begin to tell Jesus off! The disciples had not understood what the King would have to do, nor the sort of life he was calling them to live. Therefore, Jesus calls all the people to him and explains to them that he is going to give his life for them, and he expects them to give him their lives. He ends by saying that the time will come when they will see Jesus being killed and resurrected, and that they will receive the Holy Ghost. Then they will see completely clearly and will be able to tell the good news to others.
What does Jesus mean when he calls us to take up our cross and follow him?
What things do you need to give up in order to follow Jesus?
that God will open your eyes to see clearly and enable you to give your life completely to him.