Friday 19 November 2021

Bible Book:

'Do you have eyes, and fail to see?' (v. 18)

Mark 8:14-26 Friday 19 November 2021

Psalm 38:9-22


Yesterday’s reading showed the Pharisees lacking insight and understanding. Today we read even the closest followers of Jesus were not always on the same wavelength as their master.

When Jesus refers to the 'yeast' of the Pharisees and Herod in verse 15, this is because in many places in the Old Testament yeast was used as a symbol of influence, often negatively. (Interestingly, Jesus unusually uses yeast in a positive way, as a sign of the kingdom, in Luke 13:21 – the difficulty of metaphor!). Jesus is warning his disciples that they are in danger of seeing the world through corrupted eyes, even while in the company of himself. There may be another of Jesus’ sighs of exasperation that they are concerned about having enough to eat, when he is with them and is the ‘bread of life'. Besides, haven’t they seen him produce a miraculous bounty of food for thousands of people? One can almost hear Jesus’ thoughts about what more is needed to convince people that he is the Messiah.

The second part of today’s reading is a story of healing, of a blind man who Jesus enables to see. In one way, we have two separate stories within today’s reading. However, when one looks at the stories together, then maybe our own eyes are opened to the parallel truths that Mark intended us to read and hear. The blind man does not regain sight immediately; he said that he can see people but they looked like trees walking. Later, after another intervention by Jesus, his sight was restored and “he saw everything clearly”(v. 25). There is a parallel with the disciples’ lack of understanding, and their gradual awakening. The blind man is then told not to go back to the village, just as Jesus implored his followers not to proclaim him as Messiah early on in their own growing understanding of his mission. (Mark 8:30)

Jesus gradually opens the eyes of his followers to a greater understanding of truth about his mission and purpose. Those of us who know how the story unfolds will realise that even the Crucifixion is not a final statement, but leads into a new chapter that emerges from the Resurrection and the unleashing of the Spirit of God in the world.

 If we have the eyes to see, and if we recognise the 'signs of the kingdom' all around us, we also can be part of the ongoing narrative of God’s people. So let’s stay on the right wavelength!


 To Ponder:

  • We may be tempted to follow a lifestyle that does not make demands of us or require the same level of discipline that Jesus expects. Remind yourself today about the Methodist Way of Life and why it is so helpful as a daily guide to living.


Following Jesus means that we see life through a different lens. Let us give thanks today for all the people who have opened our eyes to a greater truth.

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