This week we’ve looked at the strange two-stage healing in Mark 8:22-26, trying to work out what it’s all about. So far, we’ve looked at the chapters leading up to this story in which the disciples (and others) are blind to who Jesus is, despite all they have seen. This may explain the “blindness” element of the story. But what of the strange two-stage way in which Jesus heals them? The next part of the story may be important.
Because what happens next is universally identified as a key moment, a turning-point in Mark’s Gospel:Mk 8:27-30 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Finally, he gets it! After eight chapters – probably a couple of years of Jesus’ ministry – finally, Peter works out that Jesus is the Messiah! All of that cluelessness we read of earlier is behind us, and the disciples power on with their new-found understanding of who Jesus is – right? Um, let’s see what happens next.