Eyesight to the Blind

There's more than one kind of eyesight.

Mark 8:22–26

Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.

And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”

Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

The eye is a beautiful example of how we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but the brain’s role in seeing might be even more impressive. Our minds must instantly decode the information from our eyes and convert it into a 3-D image of our surroundings. We take this for granted, but it involves some outrageously sophisticated software.

You may not be familiar with how clever this software is, but you’ve seen its malfunctions—optical illusions. To condense the data from our eyes down to something manageable, our brains must translate it into familiar patterns. When two patterns compete, we get amusing conflicts we can literally see.

Even more fun than optical illusions are cases where we see nothing at first — camouflage.

But the most impressive part is that all this translation happens before we even “see” anything. Our brains have a “pre-processor” that sorts all this out before sending it to our consciousness. Its “pattern recognition software” matches everything with shapes we already know. When we first open our eyes as babies, our brains start building this pattern data base. We literally learn to see.

In today’s passage Jesus fixes the blind man’s eyes, but he still can’t process what his eyes are telling him. His brain isn’t ready. So Jesus installs the software upgrade he needs to see.

Much of Jesus’s teaching is about the kingdom of heaven (or the kingdom of God). He goes on and on about how the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He tells numerous parables about what that kingdom is like.

Why is he teaching about the kingdom of heaven? Why not just about heaven? And why does He use parables? He’s always saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like,” something. Why not just say what it is?

He’s teaching us to see! Just as newborns need to learn to see the world they’ve been born into, those who’ve been born again need to learn to see the kingdom they’ve been born into. We’ll see heaven just fine when we get there. What’s important now is the kingdom of heaven right here.

This series, titled “Christian Eyes” is designed to train our eyes to see all things in terms of His kingdom.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.