Mark: Transfiguration – Sight and Insight
Mark: Transfiguration – Sight and Insight
Explore how in Mark’s Gospel, “sight” works as a metaphor for “insight”.
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100 Stand Alone Bible Studies

Bible Passages

Mark 8:22–25

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged
Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ”Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were
opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 8:27–33

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.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get
behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Mark 10:51–52

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked [Bartimaeus].
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his
sight and followed Jesus along the road.


Our three passages belong to the important central teaching section about what it means to be the messiah. In Mark’s Gospel, “sight” works as a metaphor for “insight”. So the section in which we will be taught to see what it means to be the messiah starts with the story of healing a blind man. Jesus has to persevere with the healing, because at first the man doesn’t see properly. Then we move on to the story of Peter’s declaration of faith. Jesus commends his insight, saying that it is God who has revealed to him that Jesus is the messiah. But in the next moment Jesus rebukes Peter for his inability to accept that the role of the messiah necessarily involves
suffering and death. We realize that it is Peter who is the blind man – the one who begins to see but cannot yet see clearly.

The section reinterpreting the messiah’s calling closes with the story of healing Blind Bartimaeus, whose response is to “follow Jesus in the Way”. Our translation says “along the road”, but that misses the deeper meaning, which is that once we see, we will follow, we will take the same road.



Your power alone can heal the blindness of our sight, O God. You alone can help us to see past our own fear and self-interest. Please open our eyes to your vision of humility, simplicity, and sacrificial love, for by ourselves we cannot see its wonder. Hold the light for us to see the path where you want us to go; take us by the hand and lead us, and once we have found the way, may we never leave the path for one moment, but walk with Jesus until we arrive safely home. For we ask it in his holy name; Amen.