Demanding a Sign (v. 11)
The Pharisees reveal their blindness in that they ask for a sign immediately after Jesus has fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread. Jesus openly displays his displeasure with an angry sigh. Because they rejected Jesus’ identity (about to be discussed in v. 27-30) they cannot or will not see the miracles that are done in their presence.
We are not granted the option of partial or selective vision. God does not allow us to choose what we do and do not agree with concerning His character and activity. As we will see, verses 22-26 are an acted parable that we do receive progressive vision. However, if we reject what God has done in our lives to us, we will not be able to accept the rest of what God has made known.
Reflection Questions: What aspect of God’s character or activity in your life do you have the hardest time accepting? Pray earnestly to God that He would grant you the grace to accept this truth. Speak with a mature Christian friend or pastor about this struggle to ensure your thinking correctly about what you are trying to accept. If need be, start with the prayer, “I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
Do You Have Eyes But Fail to See?
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Don’t you feel sorry for the disciples? They doubt the bread and God does a miracle. They start thinking about bread and miss the point of the miracle. They could answer all the factual questions, but missed the question of relevance. Why? They did not yet understand who Jesus was or what He was up to. This impeded their ability get the significance of all they were blessed to experience.
That raises a very relevant question for us, “Do we understand who Jesus is and what He is up to in our lives?” If not, even the grandest works of God in our lives will be misunderstood. We may be able to answer many factual questions and be willing to give God credit for it all. However, we would still be missing the point.
As you seek to make sense of Christ, consider these foundational truths about His work in our lives.
- Jesus came to glorify the Father and everything He does is for that purpose (John 17:1).
- Jesus is willing to sacrifice greatly for our benefit (John 3:16).
- Jesus expects us to find joy by being sacrificial people (Mark 8:34-38).
- Jesus knows that lasting joy is only found in holy character (Matt 5:48)
- Jesus does not promise to remove suffering (Matt 5:11-12).
- Jesus works in the midst of suffering (Matt 5:43-47).
- Jesus hates suffering even when it is produces great good (Matt 26:38-39).
- Jesus is not soft on those who inflict suffering (Mark 9:42).
- Jesus does not work on our time table (Mark 13:11).
- Jesus will not and does not leave us alone (John14:18, 26).
- Jesus has complete compassion and understanding of our circumstances (Heb :15).
- Jesus rewards those who are faithful (Rev 22:12-16)
If you are in a time when you feel blind to what God is doing, then take time to meditate on these truths about your Savior in light of your circumstances. Pray with a humble, patient heart that God would show you His full character and activity. Pray you would have eyes to see it.
Progressive Vision Restoration (v. 22-26)
Jesus performs this miracle in between His rebuke of the disciples regarding their spiritual blindness and their guessing towards His true identity as the long-awaited Messiah. This is an acted parable of grace. While we must accept who Christ is, our vision may be restored gradually so long as we do not defiantly resist what is made known.
This is truly Jesus stepping out of high usual pattern (instantaneous healing when He heals) to demonstrate His patience with our slow process of understanding. Notice in the next verses the disciple’s eyes are opened to Jesus identity as the Messiah as slowly as this blind man’s site was restored.
Balanced View of God: The disgust Jesus demonstrated with the Pharisees in verse 12 does not carry over to the blind man or the disciples. Both experience spiritual blindness. The Pharisees were willfully blind. The disciples were blind from fear or confusion. Notice that Jesus does not respond to them on the basis of their condition (blindness) but on the condition of their heart (hard or humble). Let this be a comfort to you.
Blog Resource: “Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me” applied to marital communication.