Then Jesus again placed his hands on the man’s eyes; and the man saw clearly, his sight was restored, and he saw everything with perfect distinctness.
keep us honest
about actual results
are typically in order
we simply proceed
no need for anger
as we enter the breech
once again and again
softening eyes wide
proceeding past focal points
smaller patterns connect
a good place to pause
before turning away
from expected next steps
Matthew and Luke may have had other reasons to not include this second healing story in their recounting of Jesus’ presence for their communities, but the mere suggestion that Jesus’ work wasn’t entirely perfect from the get-go may have been a final straw to pass over this telling.
Remember Jesus having been pushed to a second try by Justus, the Syrophoenician woman. While we are in a transition spot between sections of Mark, it will be important to remember not only second chances, but 490 opportunities to make a difference. The disciples and the Twelve will need every one.
In this context we can appreciate that healing involves the healed.
What we miss in translation is the intensity with which the man looks to see. Anyone who needs glasses knows this concentration of effort to see afar when nearsighted or make out a detail when farsighted. It is this desire to see clearly or properly that comes from peering hard, gazing steadily, looking intently.
Though brought by others, the blind man has his part to play.
To play a bit, what is described as seeing plainly or clearly can also be translated “to see from afar”. The context here is still that of questioning the yeastiness of life, judging a situation in light of mercy and its eventual redemption. To see afar when nearsighted is a great blessing. A wider context does make a difference.
Blindness is a condition of nearsightedness. We don’t see what is available. A possibility of an early mercy escapes us in the midst of a tangle of rules and doctrines. An opportunity to repent and participate in good news is not part of the picture we have of the way the world works. Clarity will make a difference when we look up to see our stones rolled away.