Jesus' Impaired Miracle
Imagine that the 5000 "men" and the 4000 "men" that Jesus fed with bread and fish each had a wife and, let's say, two children. That would mean that Jesus fed to complete satisfaction some 36,000 people. The disciples picked up a total of 19 basketfuls of leftovers (I know there are two different words for "baskets" in Mark 6 and Mark 8).
Soon after these two startling miracles the disciples fuss about not having any bread in the boat. In an exasperated, classic understatement Jesus asks the Twelve, "Why are you talking about having no bread?"
Jesus goes on, "Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear" (Mark 8:18)?
These questions are bracketed between two miracles: Jesus heals a deaf (and speech-impaired) man and Jesus heals a blind man (see Mark 7:31-35 and 8:22-26).
Ben Witherington III quoting Hooker points out that the healing of the blind man (in stages) is "an acted parable." The blindness (and the deafness) of the disciples is in view. The unconventional process in the "once I was blind, but now I see" miracle has three peculiarities: 1) Jesus asks about the effectiveness of his touch (Mk 8:23), 2) the man reports only a partial healing (Mk 8:24) and 3) Jesus touches the man again and restores full, excellent sight (Mk 8:25). No other miracles in the Gospels contain these peculiarities. It's Jesus' impaired miracle.
Discipleship is more about seeing than about knowing. Contemplate Jesus' (shortest?) parable in Luke 6:39. The theme is blindness. Then note Luke 6:40. A student when he or she is fully trained (not taught) will be like his or her master/teacher. Our ailment isn't not knowing, but not seeing. Do you remember Jesus' question to Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7? Jesus asked, "Do you *see* this woman?"
Will we admit our own impairment? Do we see beyond the obvious and ordinary to the eternal and extraordinary when we see Jesus...and others?
"Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus..."