Why I Thank God for His Grace
Josiah Wee // 23 July 2021
And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.Mark 8:22-25
There are many things that I give thanks to God for in my life—an interesting and slightly different teenagehood or a loving and supportive family. But what I am most thankful to God for is His grace which enables me to truly know and understand who He is.
Growing up in a Christian home, my parents took me to every children’s program available in church on weekends. I had many different avenues to learn more about God but sadly, I ended up reducing the gospel to moralistic teachings and bible quizzes. I assumed If I could answer the quizzes and have the right answer to the bible stories I was alright, I was a Christian.
In spite of what I learnt and memorised, I often wondered why it was so difficult for me to live for Jesus and sought to add more spiritual disciplines in my life. I thought I needed to pray longer, read the bible more, memorise more theology and listen to more sermons. Though these are all good things, knowing about Jesus instead of knowing Jesus personally, left a great gap between what I knew in my head and the way I lived my life.
I was often inspired by encouraging sharings from my youth advisors about how we ought to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. Though I longed to imitate them as they imitate Christ through the way I spoke, thought and behaved, my efforts often met with failure. My non-Christian friends were often surprised to hear me speaking of Jesus. “Oh, I didn’t know you were Christian” was a common cutting response I received.
When we read the gospel of Mark for our young adults bible study, I realised that it was possible to come to church my entire life and still not know Jesus personally. His disciples had the closest proximity to Him, heard His teachings directly, and travelled closely with Him all the way to the cross. Yet, they did not understand what Jesus really came to do – that is to suffer and die for their sins, creating the way to his new eternal kingdom. . If these people who had followed Jesus closely failed to recognise who he was, how was I supposed to really know Jesus?
But then we arrived at Mark 8:11-30. Jesus heals a blind man and soon after, Peter recognises Jesus as the Messiah for the first time. This episode in Mark pointed to the greater miracle – that Jesus himself is the one who gives spiritual sight and enables people to truly know him.
This gave me much hope. What I needed wasn’t to add more spiritual disciplines in my life, what I needed was to cry out to Jesus. He is the one who enables me to thoroughly know Him, His mission and understand my need for Him. I needed Jesus to open my eyes to realise I am a sinner, someone who has rebelled against God and decided to live like I was king of my own life. I needed Jesus to open my eyes to the depth of my wickedness, that I have rebelled against God and the only way to be saved is through Him.
I thank God for being gracious in giving me spiritual sight, to know and understand who Jesus is. He enabled me to see Him as king and myself as a wretched sinner. He helped me to understand why he had to go to the cross. But most importantly he helped me see that I needed Him and how amazing his grace is. So as I turned to Him and bowed to the knees of my heart in acknowledgement to Jesus as King, it was clear this was the right choice, and it felt like a blind man who was made to see again.