“Men, … like trees walking”

Mark 8 includes an interesting postscript to the narrative of the feeding of the 4,000. Like Matthew, Mark follows the story immediately with the discussion among the disciples about not having any bread — ironic in the extreme, given the circumstances. After all, He had just provided an enormous amount of food with practically nothing to work with — for the second time!

When Jesus brought up “the leaven of the Pharisees,” their minds went, as always, to food. Their obsession over physical things was blinding them to the much more important spiritual truth — that Jesus was capable of providing for them in every way. “Do you not yet understand?” he asked (8:21).

Mark says it was this time that they encountered a blind man near Bethsaida. Jesus spit on his eyes, laid His hands on Him, and asked, “Do you see anything?” He replied, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Clearly his vision was not completely restored — the only instance in the text in which Jesus’ healing was anything less than instantaneous. Then, of course, Jesus completed His healing work (8:22-26).

The “trees” he saw, of course, must have been the apostles. One can’t help but wonder if Jesus was trying to make a point about His close friends who still seemed completely unaware of what was happening in their world — “like trees, walking around.”

Are we any better?  Do we find ourselves privileged to keep company with the Lord every day, and yet taken aback at the notion that He might be worthy of trust?  Have we completely lost sight of His words, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33)?

Think about it the next time you thank God for your “daily bread” — especially when you think it might not be sufficient for you.  If Jesus is on your side, surely you have all you could possibly need. 

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