28 October 2012

Mark 10:46-52

"Then Jesus said to him, 'What do you want me to do for you?' The blind man said to him, 'My teacher, let me see again.'" (v. 51)


"Let me see again."

Think about it for a moment: it seems like a no-brainer, that a blind man should want to see again. But clearly this man's blindness has not been lifelong; he uses the word "again". He can remember what it was like to see, and hopes his condition is not permanent.

Those of us who are sighted can easily take the gift for granted. Yet it's really hard to imagine how we would cope without it, whether in reading, watching television, crossing the road, watching birds on the garden feederor children play in the park, seeing a rainbow or a sunrise or the astonishing colours of a flower.

With our eyes we see images. Now there's a word whose use has changed over the years! It is now customary for photographers talk about the 'images' stored on their computers, whereas once they might refer to the 'pictures' neatly filed and captioned in their albums. In the public realm, the word 'image' has come to denote a carefully-crafted presentation of a celebrity's background, appearance, personality, views, goals, and so on. Any correspondence with reality might turn out to be rather sketchy!

This man was quite willing to make his voice heard in a crowd. He knew what he wanted, and refused to be silenced even when he was making people cross. He wanted to see, to be able to take part again in the busy hurly-burly of life. He wanted to have access to 'real images', not the imaginary ones conjured up in his brain by the descriptions and stories of his friends or by the sounds he heard. He wanted a more complete kind of truth.

To Ponder

  • Have you ever consciously cultivated a public image? Why? How (new dress, new car)? What changed: your view of yourself, or other people's view of you?
  • What 'more complete kind of truth' are you looking for? And how? Is anyone helping you in your search?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr John Ogden

John Ogden spent most of his life (he is now in his late 60s) teaching Computer Science in the universities of Glasgow and Reading. A local preacher since 1964, he served the Reading and Silchester Circuit as a circuit steward in the 1980s, then candidated for (non-stipendiary) ministry.