Monday, February 10, 2014

Doubting Peter, 2 Blind Guys, and Jesus' Passion Predictions

Today in New Testament Literature and Life, my professor had some great points about the text of Mark 8:22-10:52 and I wanted to share them, along with my thoughts. If you are not familiar with these passages, I will highlight them below.

Mark 8:22-26 -Jesus healing a blind man at Bethsaida.

Jesus found a blind man, spit on his eyes and asked "Do you see anything?"The man saw what he described as trees walking around, because he could not see clearly. Jesus then laid His hands on the man's eyes again and he began to see everything clearly.

Mark 8:27-31- Peter confesses Jesus as Christ.

Jesus and the disciples were on the way to Caesarea Phillippi (pictured below). On the way, He asked them who people say that He is. The disciples answered "John the Baptist; and others say Elijah, but others one of the prophets." Then Jesus asked, "But who do you say that I am". Peter then answered "You are the Christ".

Mark 8:31-33: First Passion Prediction.
Directly after this, Jesus began teaching about how he must suffer and die, then be raised after three days. Peter then began to rebuke Him for saying this (remember just a few short verses ago, he had proclaimed that Jesus was Christ, and thus knew what He was doing). Jesus responded to Peter saying, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind of God's interests, but man's."

Mark 9:30-32- Second Passion Prediction.
Jesus again began teaching his disciples that once again he would be killed and raised after three days; yet the disciples, of all people, still did not understand. 

Mark 10:32-45 Third Passion Prediction.
Jesus began to tell the disciples that they were going to Jerusalem so that Jesus could be condemned and handed over to the Gentiles to be killed and He would rise in three days. James and John responded to this by asking if they could be at Jesus' right and left hand in Heaven; Jesus answered by telling them first that they do not know that they are asking, then telling them that they must come as servants if they want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Mark 10:46-52: Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho and found a blind man named Bartimaeus sitting by the road. The first thing I noticed is that Bartimaeus called Jesus "Son of David", meaning that He recognized that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy. Secondly, even though Bartimaeus was blind, he recognized Jesus. He begged Jesus to have mercy on Him, so the disciples called him to Jesus and Bartimaeus asked Jesus to grant him his sight. Jesus responded, "Your faith has made you well." Then, he immediately regained his sight and began following Jesus. 

Now that we have read the highlights of these passages, you can begin to understand how they fit together. My professor said that the blind man at Bethsaida did not see the full picture right away; in the same way, Peter confessed that Jesus was Lord, but still did not understand that Jesus was going to be crucified until after Jesus told him three times! Then, Bartimaeus represents Peter at the end of the passage, by proclaiming that he knows who Jesus is and has the faith to believe that Jesus can heal him, or raise Himself up in three days. 

I completely agree with my professor's view, but I also began to think about a different interpretation while studying this passage. The blind man at the beginning of the passage did not have the faith and trust necessary to believe that Jesus could heal him at first, and therefore he did not get to see the whole picture, or understand the truth of the Bible. Then, when Jesus begins to reveal Himself, if you have faith that Jesus is who He says He is, your faith will open your eyes to great things- both in the Bible and in your every day life. 


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