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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 8:22-26 bible study (March 4, 2024)

March 4, 2024:  Monday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 8:22-26

Good morning, dear friends in Christ.  Today in your prayers please remember Pastor Dave in Minnesota whose cancer has metastasized into many areas of his body, and of course add Kandice and Jeff to these prayers as well.  Both are dealing with inoperable cancer, which is difficult to treat.  Offer a prayer of thanksgiving that Kandice has been able to regain some minimal mobility.  She has only recently been able to walk up to 12 feet.  This is a wonderful gift for her wife Lisa who is her primary caregiver.  Remember American Lutheran in your prayers too.  We are thankful for every member, and for their faithfulness.  And today remember to tell Jesus that you love Him.

a laptop, bible, notebook, pencils on a table with the words Exploring God's Word
Bible Study - Exploring God's Word

Just in case you have wondered, there are no parallels in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John to the story of the man who was blind in Bethsaida.  Of course, the Gospel of John has the story of the man born blind which pretty much covers a complete chapter, but Biblical scholars do not consider that story to be a parallel to Mark 8:22-26.  Blindness was a very common health issue and was often based on the lack of cleanliness in the time of Christ.  This seems to be an ironic reality based on the purity and cleanliness laws of the Law.

In our passage for this morning, we see once again the wonderful consideration with which Jesus heals the sick.  This man may also have been born blind, but we can't say that for certain, but in his community this man is an outcaste who is dependent on the mercy of the people in Bethsaida.  He must beg for enough just to live on for food.  He also probably has to approach the same people time and time again.  Jesus knows that a healing for this blind man would not be good in the city, so He takes the blind man out of the city to heal him, allowing him the privacy that he probably does not have due to his survival needs, and the constant interaction with the begging that he must do.  And, born blind, this man has limited understanding of what the city around him really even looks like.  To avoid all of this Jesus moves this man into the country, where inputs would be less hectic and filled with the harsh sights of a busy world.  You might say that Christ's action was a bit presumptuous, but we must always remember that Jesus knew this man's deepest desires and feelings.  Jesus literally knew this man's mind and heart, just as He knows ours too!  Jesus always knows what we need before we are able to appeal to Him, or to offer our heartfelt thanksgiving and love to Him.  Jesus treated this blind man with every consideration, and offered His healing because He knew the man's mind and heart. 

Jesus also used methods that the man could understand.  In this time in history, people felt that using the moisture of one's mouth, and applying it to a wound would bring about healing.  After all, what do you and I do if we get a bruise on one of our fingers that is painful, or a cut?  The first thing that many of us do is to put that finger right into our mouth!  I know, in all likelihood it is not clean, but that doesn't usually stop us from doing it, though we have all gotten a lot better about hand washing since the pandemic.  In His Wisdom, Christ uses a long-trusted method for healing, and surrounds it with the power, which is His to offer to cure people, no matter who they are.  We can only imagine the responses of people if Christ had come into the midst of the city, spoken words of healing, and the man had immediately been able to see everything.  As the Pharisees had done so many times, people may well have looked upon Christ, and the man, with fear and trepidation.  Christ knew how to do things simply, understandable ways, as well as harder to understand parables.  This miracle of Christ in Mark is unique.  It is the only one in which the healing is not immediately complete.  He undertakes the healing twice.  The man's first response to Christ Word for his life may be incomplete, and so he only receives a partial healing.  After the second healing by Christ, his sight is fully restored, preparing the blind man for the amazing sight that will fill his range of vision.  This healing symbolizes for all of us the way that God's Truth fills our lives, restores our faith, and challenges us to life-long growth in how we see the power of His Love for each of us, and in the commitment to which each of us is called throughout our lives in the Kingdom.  Regrettably, all too often, when someone initially comes to belief in Christ, we think that the conversion of the heart and mind is complete.  The person for whom this gift is given must learn throughout their life how to continue to grow into the life of faith and commitment.  The change of the heart, metanoia, that comes from Christ's love for each of us calls us to daily confession of sin, and the daily renewal of our hearts for our Savior who loves us.

I will be with you tomorrow as we move on to Mark 8:27-30.

Love in Christ, Pastor Kim

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