The man behind the miracle – Wednesday, 6th week in ordinary time –Mk 8:22-26

So straight away, after reading the gospel, two questions do pop up. Why did Jesus lead the blind man outside the village to heal him? And why did Jesus not heal him the first time round? ‘Were Jesus’ ‘powers’ failing? What is the point of this miracle that appears only in Mark’s gospel.

Too often, to answer the second question, the faith of the blind man is brought into question. Perhaps he did not have faith and that’s why Jesus had to lay his hands on him the second time. I think this is doing a grave injustice to the blind man.  There is no indication that the blind man did not have faith, his faith is not on trial; on the contrary his faith is amazing.

It is he who is led to Jesus by his friends who begged for a miracle. They asked Jesus to merely TOUCH him; but Jesus did more. Jesus takes the blind man by his hand and leads him. Wow, what an amazing feeling that must have been, to be led by Jesus personally.  The blind man does not pull back; he does not ask where is he being taken? He simply allows himself to be led.  So to impute a lack of faith to the blind man would be doing the blind man’s faith a great injustice.

 If we believe that the blind man’s faith was in question then what we are effectively saying is that faith is a magical power; if I have faith I am healed! It makes us some kind of Christian witch with powers to heal ourselves, if we have faith.  It is not OUR FAITH that heals us; it is OUR GOD who heals.

Does that then mean that Jesus had lost his ability to work miracles? Not at all! Jesus had already worked so many miracles that he does not need to pass this test.  So what’s happening then? Look at the totality in which these texts are based. Jesus, in spite of working so many miracles is pushed by the Pharisees for a sign (not miracle) because a sign would indicate the power behind the miracle.

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