Friday 23 November 2018

Bible Book:

Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (v 25)

Mark 8:14-26 Friday 23 November 2018

Psalm: Psalm 38:9-22


Disability was one of the great separators for the Jews: it cut people off from God and locked them out of worship. Blind animals could not be used for sacrifice (Deuteronomy 15:21) and blind people were excluded from playing a part in sacrificial worship (Leviticus 21:16-20).

At the same time, the promise of God was that people would be free of all disease and infirmity. Isaiah declared God’s intention to “be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6,7)

There are a number of other stories in the gospels of Jesus healing the blind (Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-43). We also know there were times when Jesus healed those who came to him in crowds. Presumably some of those would also have been blind.

What are we meant to read into this? Certainly we recognise that Jesus wanted people to be freed from whatever prevented them offering their whole selves to God. Also, as a sign of the kingdom of God breaking in, healing the blind was both a literal and figurative opening of people’s eyes to who Jesus was: the Messiah of God.

This episode is intriguingly coupled with a question from Jesus to the crowd: “Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?” (v 18) Spiritual blindness, even after a feeding miracle, contrasted with one person who is now able to see clearly.


To Ponder:

  • What are the contemporary equivalents of spiritual blindness?
  • Are there ways in which the Church still makes it hard for people with disabilities to engage fully in worship?
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