Mark 8: 22 – 26
What’s Your Vision Like?
22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. 23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” 25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”
There is another situation which I believe is a different situation and was recorded by another eyewitness and that was John, so let’s see what he said.
John 9: 1 – 41, 1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” 12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” 13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
Although we see some similarities, I think it is pretty easy to realize that these two miracles are different. The blind man in John’s version had the mud put on his eyes in the same spot where our Lord Jesus Christ first addressed him. In today’s teaching we find out that our Lord walked the man outside the town before putting the mud on his eyes.
In John’s version the man was instructed to go and wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Then he came back to the two not only with his sight restored but he was displaying so much joy in put the whole town in an uproar. In today’s lesson our Lord instructed the man to go home and not say anything to anyone.
What we will look at seems very disturbing. At first glance it looks as though our Lord failed in His miracle. However, when we look at these verses more thoroughly we will find out the reason why He healed a blind man in two stages.
If we look back a chapter we find that this account comes after the blindness of the disciples has been stressed. We read in chapter 7 this, “Mark 7: 31 – 37, “31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
Our Lord had told the disciples not to call anyone ‘Teacher’ because they had the best possible One teaching them. If you take some time to think on this matter you will see our Lord’s perfect course description to His students. Like an accounting course He built His lessons one upon the other. The patterns have led to the fact that all the Lord’s disciples must think not of literal things but of spiritual. We read in the book of 2 Corinthians 4, “18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Our Lord’s miracle of healing previously the deaf and blind man which was spiritual all leads up to this unusual healing of the blind man which must also be seen as having spiritual significance. Not to keep you in the dark, this miracle demonstrates by the fact that it is followed by the eyes of the disciples being partially opened and then fully opened. Ah, I gave you the conclusion in advance.
As I pointed out previously the two incidents of healing a blind man in the Gospel of Mark and the one in chapter 9 of the Gospel of John had major differences, we can now say that the two healings of chapter 7 and 8 have similarities. The two accounts of healing, that of the deaf and dumb man, and of the blind man, are parallel in a number of ways. Both take place outside Galilee, both involve the use of saliva, both mention our Great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ touching the affected parts; both illustrate the spiritual state of men; and both result in a request for secrecy which was our Adoni Yeshua, our Lord Jesus’ policy when He performed an outstanding miracle and would be staying around a certain area.
22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.
They have returned to Bethsaida, outside Galilee and north of the sea of Galilee, and a blind man is brought to Him. Please notice that as with the deaf and dumb man, the people felt that there was a certain technique our Lord Jesus used to heal - ‘to lay His hand on him’. Mark draws attention to the expected method of healing, ‘that He may touch him’. In other words he draws attention to the unusualness of the cure.
When you study all the Gospels you find out that our Lord does not want to display any way of doing things, especially miracles. Even today, you will find those who attempt to follow a certain way of talking or of ceremony in order to heal or do a religious ceremony. Let me say that first of all our Great Master Is not impressed with any of these tactics. I believe His motto is ‘KISS’ – Keep it simple stupid.’
For example, today you can go to many churches and see some beautiful altars. What was our Lord’s directions? We read this in the book of Exodus 20, “24 An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. 25 And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. 26 Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’
23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
Again please note the parallel with the deaf and dumb man in chapter 7, ‘He brought him out of the village’, compare ‘He took him aside from the multitude privately’.
This was what He had done to the disciples in order to open their ears and eyes, and yet sadly they were still inoperative.
Please remember that we are not just talking about our Lord’s followers some 2000 years ago. You and I also are His disciples. We also need to take heed to this instruction from our God.
Again we have similar treatment, the use of saliva, although applied differently to the different parts. The idea is that the words of Jesus will open the eyes of the spiritually blind as they will open the mouth of the spiritually dumb.
24 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”
The healing was only partial. The eyes that had been opened were still dim, just as with the disciples spiritually. The picture is vivid ‘men as trees, walking’, his sight was still dim and distorted.
25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
After further action full sight is restored, the half blindness slips away and he can see fully. It was Jesus’ expectation that it would be thus with the disciples spiritually, first partly seeing and then receiving whole vision. And also with others who would follow them. Perhaps the partial healing reflects their somewhat defective recognition of Him as the Messiah, while the whole healing pictures what happens at the Transfiguration, or at His resurrection. But the idea is probably more in order to press home the fact that spiritual illumination comes slowly in stages.
26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”
Such a demand for silence was The Lord Jesus’ regular policy when He performed outstanding miracles and was expectant of remaining in the area.
Jesus had taken the man out of ‘the village’ and away from the crowd, and now tells him not to return there, but to go straight home. This was, of course, partly to prevent the publicity that might then result in sensation seeking crowds, but it is also clearly a spiritual picture of what the disciples must do once their eyes were opened. They must not proclaim Him as Messiah until after His death and resurrection, for men were mistaken in their conceptions of the Messiah.
In this study we have learned that our spiritual vision and insight comes in stages. Take time this week to look at yourself and find out what stage and what your present vision is like?.