22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. 23 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 upon him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?" 24 And he looked up and said, "I see men; but they look like trees, walking." 25 Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."
Meditation: What's worse than physical blindness? A mind
and heart darkened by sin, unbelief, and prideful rejection of
God's light and truth. Jesus came to set people free from the
blinding darkness of sin, deception, and the lies of Satan and he
offered them new abundant life and freedom to walk in his way of
love, truth, and holiness. Wherever Jesus went he proclaimed the
kingdom of God, and many people drew near to hear, see, and touch
the power which came from him to heal and restore people to
wholeness of life.
The gift of faith dispels the darkness of sin and unbelief
When Jesus came to Bethsaida, the fishing village of Andrew, Peter, James, and John, a blind man was brought to Jesus by some of his friends. Without their help he could not have found the one who could restore his sight and make him whole. Jesus understood the fears and hopes of this blind man and his friends who begged him to touch the blind so he could be restored. The blind in a special way perceive the power of touch.
Why did Jesus first lead the blind man away from the village (Mark 8:23)? Jesus very likely wanted to remove him from the distraction of bystanders and unbelieving skeptics. We know from the Gospel accounts written by Luke and Matthew that Jesus had strong words of rebuke for the inhabitants of Bethsaida:
"Woe to you Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you... You shall be brought down to Hades"(Luke 10:13, Matthew 11:21).
Jesus identifies with our weaknesses and strengthens us in faith
Jesus showed considerateness in bringing the blind man to a place away from the skeptics and gawkers who might dampen his faith and trust in Jesus. Then Jesus did something quite remarkable and unexpected. Mark says that Jesus "spit on his eyes, and laid his hands upon him" (Mark 8:23). Jesus physically identified with the blind man's incurable condition both to show his personal compassion for him and to also awaken faith in him. Jesus then asks the man, "Do you see anything?" The blind man begins to recognize that he can now see a little bit - but his sight is very blurry. So Jesus lays his hands on him a second time to strengthen his faith so he can receive a complete healing. Mark records in three short phrases the dramatic healing which occurred to the blind man: "He looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly." His sight was restored in stages as he responded in faith to Jesus' healing touch and words.
Jesus gives us "eyes of faith" to recognize the truth of his word
Jerome, an early church bible scholar (347-420 AD), explains the spiritual significance of this healing not only for the blind man but for us as well:
"Christ laid his hands upon his eyes that he might see all things clearly, so through visible things he might understand things invisible, which the eye has not seen, that after the film of sin is removed, he might clearly behold the state of his soul with the eye of a clean heart."
Sinful pride and the refusal to repent of wrongdoing easily lead
to deception and spiritual blindness which rob people of faith and
trust in God's merciful pardon and healing forgiveness. Jesus is
the true light that opens our eyes and hearts to the truth of his
word and the power of his love to heal, restore, and make us
Removing blind-spots that cloud our vision of the Lord and his power at work in our lives
Are there any blind-spots in your life that cloud your vision of the Lord Jesus and his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith and trust in him so that you may recognize his voice more clearly as you listen to his word and allow him to transform you more and more through the work and grace of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you.
1 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
2 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth from his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue, and does no evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
4 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 who does not put out his money at interest, and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Through the divine word of Christ he received his sight, attributed to Pseudo-Chrysostom, 5th century A.D.
"[Jesus] spat indeed, and put his hand upon the blind man,
because he wished to show that wonderful are the effects of the
Divine word added to action; for the hand is the symbol of
working, but the spittle, of the word proceeding out of the mouth.
Again he asked him whether he could see any thing, which he had
not done in the case of any whom he had healed, thus showing that
by the weak faith of those who brought him, and of the blind man
himself, his eyes could not altogether be opened. There follows: 'And
he looked up, and said, I see men as trees walking;' because
he was still under the influence of unfaithfulness, he said that
he saw men obscurely. From the commencement, however, of the
return of his senses, he leads him to apprehend things by faith,
and thus makes him see perfectly. He then goes on to say, After
that, he put his hands again upon his eyes, and he began to see,
and afterwards he adds, And he was restored, and saw all
things clearly; he was perfectly healed in his senses and
(excerpt from a Commentary on Mark 8:22-25, attributed to Pseudo-Chrysostom today, an unknown early church father unknown today, but was ascribed for a time to John Chrysostom, 5th century AD)