Monday, August 6, 2007

Don't Forget About Mark!

Of the four Gospels, Mark seems to get the least respect. It’s the shortest, the Greek is poor at best, the wording is clunky, and to top it off, it’s had to live in the shadow of St. Augustine calling it an abbreviated version of Matthew’s Gospel.

But most today (myself included) believe that Mark was the first written Gospel, Not Matthew. And what Mark lacks in Greek and grammar he makes up for with great story telling. Mark is a master at organizing the Gospel episodes with a deep and often overlooked meaning.

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration (got a late jump in writing this post). It celebrates the story of Jesus bringing Peter, James, and John up the mount (Hermon, Tabor, or Sinai – you decide) and allows them to witness him transfigured in his glory talking with Moses and Elijah.

Mark places Peter’s confession and the Transfiguration next to each other. He also places a story before these that is overlooked, but very significant. It’s the story of Jesus healing a blind man. But what makes this story a little strange is that Jesus seems to need two tries to do it:

“When they arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, "Do you see anything?" Looking up he replied, "I see people looking like trees and walking." Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.” Mark 8:22-26
The three, blind as to who Jesus was before now, were now told who Jesus was (the Messiah) and saw Him in His glory. But this image was a blurry and incomplete view of Jesus. Their eyes will be soon closed again as Jesus is crucified and they abandon Him out of fear and lack of faith. But once Jesus is raised and even more so after the Holy Spirit comes, their eyes will be opened and their sight will be restored and they will be able to see everything distinctly.

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