What would it have been like to be one of Jesus’ disciples, walking along with Him on the dusty roads of Galilee? What was it like to see what they saw?
When I consider those questions, it seems easy to understand why they would have written as much as they could in the gospels to give us glimpses of their journey to give us help for our own. The Lord used each of the disciples’ voices to try to give us a fuller orbed understanding of the story of His ministry here on earth.
Time and again if we take a moment to imagine it as we are reading, we can come up beside them on the dusty road and possibly get a glimpse of what it must have felt like. Often it seemed that even though they were there, they were often seeing and yet not seeing at the same time. Little wonder that our vision can be blurry.
Reading in Mark 8 today I see Jesus teaching the crowds and then expressing concern for how hungry and weary they must all be. What a gift of hospitality He had. He never failed to see to every aspect of those He sought to reach and in this passage He multiplies seven loaves to feed the crowd that had been gathered with Him for three days.
He feeds their spirits and hearts and then He gives them food for their physical hunger.
Later in that chapter they all arrive at Bethsaida and some friends of a blind man bring him to Jesus and beg that He heal the man. They have heard of His power and miracles. There was no question He could, if only He would.
Jesus responds and in this healing, He puts spit in the man’s eyes as He lays hands on him. Then He asks him if he can see anything.
I can only imagine the man squinting and squeezing his eyes opened and closed trying to regain perfect sight; but no matter how hard he tries, he tells Jesus he sees men who look like walking trees.
So Jesus lays hands on him again and when the man looks carefully, he discovers he has perfect twenty/twenty vision.
Sometimes He healed instantly and sometimes He showed us that healing could be progressive. Commentaries make note that He was also showing the disciples (and us) that spiritual blindness might not be healed instantly.
What hope that gives me! My limited vision also can be healed to see more clearly, to understand more deeply, to know Him more completely, to begin to see more as He sees.
When Jesus looked at someone, He saw beyond what everyone else saw.
Remember. He looked at the woman at the well and saw not only what she had done, but also what she could be. He looked up in a tree and saw a wee man; a tax collector hated by one and all, and yet saw the hunger in his heart and went to his house for dinner. He noticed the widow dropping in the two coins and considered her sacrifice.
He saw what lay beneath the surface and saw possibility, a precious soul needing healing. He never diminished those others passed over or shunned. He respected each one.
What do we see?
How do we learn to see more like that?
Maybe we who know Him need another touch of His hands to heal us so our eyes and hearts can see beyond what we see now when we look at those around us.
Ken Gire writes in Windows of the Soul, “we must learn to look with more than just our eyes and listen with more than just our ears”.
To do that, we need to put down our phones, lay aside our assumptions, deal a death blow to our prejudices, pride, and biases, and see in ordinary moments each day that we have the opportunity to see things of eternal worth, people of eternal value. It will take time.
There are moments when we slow our pace and get glimpses of that through artists, music, or written words. We get bigger views when we peer closely at the raindrops on a lacey spider web or observe a mountain range come into view. We see it in a star-spangled sky or a rosy sunset.
But do we also see what He saw when we look at others?