Lawrence's weekly posts on the lectionary readings are fantastic, especially his reflections on the readings from Mark. This week's is no exception - read it here - I have found it very helpful as I prepare to read this passage with Bunyan's young people tomorrow. Here's a flavour:
The steep ascent from the Galilee to Jerusalem – the occasion for Jesus teaching his disciples about the Way of the Cross – mirrors the climb up Golgotha to crucifixion and death. These stopping places are the stations of the cross: time to pause and enter into the enormity of what is happening. It is the road of discipleship – the place of following. The further they travel it, the more the discipleship narrative unravels. The closer they draw to Jerusalem, the stiffer the resistance of The Twelve to the Way of the Cross becomes. And here, in the last stopping place before Jerusalem, the nature of true discipleship is shown, not through Jesus’ teaching, but through an encounter with a man who has become blind.