Progressively Restoring a Blind Man’s Sight (Mark 8:22-26)

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2008-03-03 11:07.

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Jesus and his disciples disembarked from the boat at the village of Bethsaida. Their arrival did not go unnoticed. Soon some of he villagers brought a blind man, entreating Jesus to touch him to restore his sight. He, however, chose not to do so in their presence. Taking the blind man by the hand, he led him outside the village. (Mark 8:22, 23)

After spitting on the man’s eyes and placing his hands “on him,” Jesus asked whether he saw anything. Unable to see clearly when he looked up, the man answered that he saw men who looked like trees walking about. His mention of trees suggests that he had not been blind from birth and, therefore, could speak of people having the appearance of trees. After Jesus again put his hands on the man’s eyes, he could see clearly. Jesus then sent him to his home, telling him not to go into Bethsaida. (Mark 8:23-26)

Notes:

Mark 8:25 says that Jesus “again” placed his hands on the man’s eyes. This suggests that Jesus’ initial laying of his hands upon the man (verse 23) referred to his doing so on his eyes.

The blind man did not live in Bethsaida. Possibly he had gone to the village to beg, and people who took pity on him decided to take him to Jesus and entreat him to restore his sight.

At the time, the man may not even have had faith in Jesus, as there is no reference in the account indicating that he spoke or acted of his own initiative. Perhaps the manner in which Jesus chose to restore his sight helped him to come to have faith and to grow in faith (comparable to the progressive recovery of his sight). The interaction with him would have revealed to the man that the miracle had been effected through Jesus.

The directive that the man not return to the village did not differ from Jesus’ usual instructions to those who were cured of their afflictions. To the extent possible, Jesus wanted to avoid the kind of publicity that caused large crowds to form but did not lead individuals to genuine faith in him.