In Matthew 16:13-18 that Jesus asked the disciples who others thought He was. Peter responded that while others thought of Jesus as being a top prophet like Jeremiah and Elijah, he saw Jesus as completely different: He was the Messiah, the very Son of God.
Jesus called Peter truly blessed and said that this truth was not gained from hours of Bible study, but something that had been revealed to Peter by the Father in heaven.
But how did Peter get this revelation? Back in Matthew 14, he and the other disciples had proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God. They all worshiped Him as they saw how Jesus could help Peter walk on water, and pick him up even after he stumbled.
But this was not the revelation that Jesus was referring to. The revelation of who Jesus really was directly from the Father (Matthew 16:17), and not from long hours in prayer or deep Bible study. And I see how the Father revealed this to Peter in Mark 8.
Mark 8 begins with Jesus multiplying bread to feed thousands (v1-10). Soon after, some religious leaders ask Jesus for a sign as proof of His authority (v11). Jesus refuses their request, and warns His disciples to be careful of the infecting leaven of the legalists and the worldly (v14- 15). The disciples hear the word ”leaven” and think that Jesus is talking about physical bread. They had already forgotten Jesus’s recent words to them that what went into the body could not defile a person (Mark 7:14-23).
So Jesus rebukes them for relating to His instructions at an earthly level. The disciples did not understand the meaning of Jesus’s words because their hearts were still hardened (dull and insensitive). It was not an intelligence issue; their hearts were fixed on earthly things, and so were insensitive to the things of God (v17-18).
But who was Jesus saying had hard hearts. Not the Pharisees but His closest disciples! Yes, the ones who had left all to follow Him. And the ones who had just recently worshiped Him as the Son of God when He walked on water. But now their hearts were insensitive to the things of God. They had eyes but could not see.
What happens next (v 22-26) is Jesus’s message for them and His prescription for this spiritual blindness. These verses speak to the only miracle where Jesus laid His hands on a blind man, but the man wasn’t fully healed right away.
Jesus definitely did not lack the power to heal completely. Rather, Jesus was seeking to teach to His disciples something. Because even though Jesus touched the man, He asks the man a question, ”I know you have eyes. And I know I touched you. But do you see properly?” And praise God, this man was honest. He said, ”I can see something, but I see men as trees walking around!” What a tragedy if he had sought to be super spiritual and claimed “by faith” that he was healed when he was not. He would have walked away with distorted vision.
This is a lesson for us. We can claim to want to be disciples of Jesus, but we might still PRIMARILY want Him (in the way we live our lives) for our earthly needs. If so, we are living as those who see men walking around like trees. We are grossly reducing the true potential of what Christ can be for us.
Then, Jesus wants to speak to my life and ask me, “Sandeep, is My promise a reality in your life? I might have touched your eyes in the past, but you still don’t see Me like you should. You have heard many great sermons, but you still do not understand who I am. The disciples saw Me walk on water, and even worshiped Me as God’s Son. They saw me multiply bread for thousands, but their hearts were still insensitive and dull. They needed Me to touch them again to see Me as the One and Only Messiah? So if our relationship is primarily about Me helping you in your earthly problems, then you’re not seeing straight. You do not see Me for who I really am. You are like the blind man who saw people walking around like trees!”
How is it with us? ·
We can read verse like “God will honor those who honor Me” (1 Samuel 2:30) and “No weapon formed against you will prosper” and think about the neighbors and coworkers who bother us. So we claim that verse against them.
We can read prayers like “Bless me and enlarge my border” and immediately ask that God enlarge our bank account or the size of our property.
We can read promises like ”By His stripes we are healed” and become convinced that God will most definitely heal our arthritis.