Devotion for Saturday, April 25th, 2020
From: Wendy Beard
Today, I would like to talk about some of the aspects of God. To do that, I will start by taking a look at the healing of the blind man as recorded in Mark 8:22-26.
“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.’”
Did you notice something unique in this miracle? Jesus did not lay his hands on the man’s eyes only once, but he did it twice. Normally, one touch, even the most light and insignificant touch, such as the woman in the crowd who touched the very edge of His clothing, (the ESV version of the Bible uses the term “the fringe of his garment”) was enough to heal a person of their infirmity. But in this case, it took two touches for complete healing.
Why? What would explain this second touch? As you think back through some of the other miracles, you may recall the rebuke of a demon from a young boy. The father had first brought the boy to Jesus’ disciples, but they were unable to rid the boy of the demon. Jesus told them that it was because of their little faith. Was it possible that it took two touches due to the limitations of Jesus’ “human‑ness” in this instance, really a limit to his faith in Himself? I would think not. Even in human form, our God is without limits in His power and potential to heal.
Then where does the issue lie? The other main person in this healing is the blind man himself. Note, that it was his friends that brought this blind man to Jesus. Maybe it was solely their faith that put him in front of Jesus waiting to be healed? And, when Jesus walked the blind man out of the village, He removed the friends from the faith equation. Remember the woman that I referred to earlier who was healed by touching the very edge of Jesus’ garment? Jesus’ response to her after He realized someone had touched his garment was, “’Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well.” (Matthew 9:22b) It was because of her faith that in even touching the most remote spot of his garment that she would be healed that she was, in fact, healed.
Was it the blind man’s lack of faith that left him only able to recognize blurry figures? If so, I do not think Jesus was surprised. Look at how He handled this man’s healing. I picture Jesus approaching the man with a gentleness, almost a tenderness, as we are told He takes him by the hand and leads him out of the village. Part of the reason Jesus did this may have been because He knew how this healing was going to happen so He led him away from the public eye and the inevitable questions from the Pharisees who were always seeking to discredit Him. But, I think He also had great compassion for this blind man; Jesus had no intention of drawing attention to the blind man’s limited faith. He instead honored the little faith the man had and understood what it would take to grow it just enough for his healing to be realized. I truly think He knew that the first touch would give the man only a limited amount of his vision back. But, this glimmer of what Jesus could do led to a spark that, once the blind man had a taste of healing, ignited a faith that allowed him to be healed completely.
To me, this miracle represents some of the most wonderful aspects of the God we serve. He is gentle yet all‑powerful. And, he accomplishes these things in ways that are counter to how the world views them. The world will tell you that gentleness is equivalent to weakness and having someone above you be all-powerful is constraining. He is neither. Instead, His gentleness provides us with strength and comfort in our most difficult moments, and His power gives us the ability to live our lives with an almost unexplainable freedom because we know that He is in control. He is also incredibly patient, especially with those of us who carry so little faith sometimes that, like the blind man, we need a nudge not once, but twice, and maybe even more times, to have faith even as small as a mustard seed.
But these are just a few of His characteristics. Take some time today to reflect on some of the other wondrous qualities of the awesome God we serve!