Blind Man Saved along the Way

A blind man’s eyes were opened, and the man was "saved" as Jesus continued “on the way" to Jerusalem and his inevitable death - Mark 8:22-26

Sun burst - Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash
The preceding three stories in 
Mark highlighted the spiritual blindness caused by unbelief, especially the inability to perceive what God was doing in Jesus, as well as who he was. Next, he restores sight to another Israelite, so he could begin to see clearly, for his blindness was removed by the touch of Jesus, the “Son of David” and the Messiah of Israel - [Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash].

Bethsaida means “house of the fisher” or “house of fish,” and fishing was its major industry. The town was located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, near the entrance of the Jordan River.
  • (Mark 8:22-26) - “And they come into Bethsaida. And they bring to him a blind man and implore him that he would touch him. And having laid hold of the hand of the blind man, he brought him forth outside the village, and having spit into his eyes, having laid his hands upon him, he was asking him, ‘Are you seeing anything?’ And having looked up he was saying, ‘I see men, because like trees I see them walking.’ Then again, he put his hands upon his eyes, and they saw clearly, and he was restored and was seeing everything very clearly. And he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even enter into the village’.”
Eight different Greek words for seeing and sight are used in the passage to stress the restoration of sight to the man, and to link the story to the preceding one concerning spiritual dullness. Conceptually, it also provides a link to the next story when the eyes of Peter were opened, at least momentarily, and he understood that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

Previously, Jesus employed spit to healing a deaf man. The difference here is that the healing was not instantaneous; instead, it unfolded progressively - (Mark 7:33).

In the Old Testament, the laying on of hands was not associated with healing, but instead, was part of the ritual for slaying animal sacrifices when the supplicant laid his hands on the animal before it was slaughtered. Hands were laid also on a man when he was installed to the priesthood, and additionally, as a general means of blessing - (Genesis 48:17-20, Leviticus 1:4, 3:2, Numbers 8:10, 27:18-23).

Placing hands on an animal sacrifice or candidate to the priesthood signified its transference from the realm of the common to that of the sacred. Jesus did the opposite. Through the laying on of his hands, he brought the holy blessings from God to the profane and the common.

Because he touched the man more than once does not indicate any difficulty in completing the healing. Previously, Jesus performed difficult healings and exorcisms with only a single touch or command. Possibly, in the larger context, the progressive healing symbolized the kind of progressive revelation that leads to genuine spiritual insight.

Nothing is said about the man’s faith or lack thereof, or that the healing process progressed as his faith grew. Whether the man had faith, acquired it during the event, or his faith had anything at all to do with the healing, is not stated.
The restoration of sight came solely through the initiative of Jesus, who summoned the man and laid hands on him.

The progressive healing provides a thematic link between the preceding and subsequent sections of the narrative. In the second half of Mark, the disciples develop in stages: From non-understanding to understanding, then to complete understanding after his death - (Mark 8:17-21, 8:29-33, 15:39).

In the next story, Peter received “sight” when he came to understand that Jesus was the “Christ”; however, his sight was blurred as soon as he took offense at the notion of the “Son of God” suffering at the hands of Israel’s enemies. Though he saw who Jesus was, he remained blinded to what it means to be the Messiah of Israel.


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