Scriptures

The Healing Of The Blind Man At Bethsaida

Introduction

‘They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t even go into the village.’ Mark 8:22-26

Bethsaida

Jesus comes into the region of Bethsaida, this is probably Bethsaida Julius that was north of the Sea of Galilee. It was the native city of Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Philip, its name means ‘house of fish,’ it was here that He encountered a blind man.

Why did Jesus take him outside the village?

He took this man outside the town to an area where there was no audience. Jesus did this in order not to cause excitement in the city that a healing of this nature would cause, and He probably didn’t want people coming to Him simply just for healing. Jesus sought to accomplish the healing, and at the same time be able to teach the multitudes in the town later, Mark 5:43 / Mark 7:36.

What would this man’s life be like being blind?

People with complete blindness often have a difficult time self-navigating outside well-known environments. Traveling or simply walking down a crowded street may pose great difficulty. In the home, large obstacles such as tables and chairs must remain in one location to prevent injury.

Blindness causes considerable social challenges, usually in relation to the activities in which a blind person cannot participate. All too frequently, blindness affects a person’s ability to perform many jobs, which severely limits their employment opportunities. This may not only affect a person’s finances, but also their self-esteem.

Blindness may also cause difficulties with participating in activities outside of a workplace, such as sports and academics. Many of these social challenges limit a blind person’s ability to meet people, and this only adds to low self-esteem.

Blind people are naturally helpless in many ways and 2 Samuel 5:6 / Isaiah 35:5-6 / Jeremiah 31:7, make appeals to the blind, the lame, and the mute as representative examples of helplessness and subject to exploitation, Deuteronomy 28:29. There are warnings against exploiting them found in Leviticus 19:14 / Deuteronomy 27:18 / Job 29:15.

The Blindness Test

Describe what Jesus looks like! Describe what a Scottish Thistle looks like, without using colours! Describe what a tree looks like without using colours! Imagine how difficult this would be if you’ve never seen these things!

The healing Normally, Jesus’ healings were complete and immediate, but this case was different, He applied saliva to the eyes of the blind man, laid His hands on him, and then asked what he saw. The man reported seeing men like trees walking around. So, Jesus touched his eyes again, and his vision was perfectly restored. Despite the fact of there being two stages in the man’s healing, it was nevertheless accomplished almost immediately.

Why didn’t Christ heal this man all at once, like He normally did?

There’s no other incident in Jesus’ miraculous works like the action of Jesus in this case and the truth is we can’t be certain as to why Jesus healed this man in two steps.

It’s interesting in modern times when someone is having eye surgery, after the operation the doctors put on many layers of bandages but then remove one layer every day, so that their sight will gradually get used to the light again. If they remove them all in one go, it can cause irreversible damage to the eyes and they may never see again.

Opinions

1. Jesus may have wanted to prepare the way for the following teaching that He must be accepted to be someone more than a prophet. He must be accepted as the Christ and Son of God, Mark 8:27-30.

2. Coffman suggest that the man was healed in stages, probably because his faith was imperfect. Jesus first strengthened his faith by partly healing him, and then, when his faith was adequate, completed the cure.

In this connection, it should be remembered that they were the citizens of Bethsaida who brought this man to Jesus, and that city was noted for its unbelief and rejection of the Lord. Matthew 11:21-22 / Luke 10:13.

3. Jesus’ healings were signs, symbols of spiritual truths. In this case, the two-stage healing of the blind man symbolised how men’s understanding, and insight is often healed in two steps.

The disciples, for example, weren’t totally blind, for they understood that Jesus was the Son of God, Mark 8:29 but, on the other hand, they still didn’t perceive Jesus’ complete ability and therefore had defective vision, Mark 8:17-18 / Mark 8:31-33.

They needed to be touched again so they could see clearly. Jesus deliberately done this healing this way to encourage the faith of the blind man and to use him as an object lesson to his disciples.

Why wasn’t he permitted to go back to Bethsaida?

I believe that Jesus knew that more than enough had already been done for this sinful, unbelieving village and Christ here practiced what He preached, regarding the casting of pearls before pigs. Matthew 7:6.

What effect would this miracle have on this man’s life?

A good friend of mine told me a story about when a congregation got on a minibus to visit a congregation to support their Gospel meeting, my friend sat next to a woman who was blind, and she asked him to describe what he could see on the journey.

She says,

‘it sounds beautiful, I wish I could see it all’.

My friend went on and said to her, when I describe something that’s blue, just think of something that’s cold, and when I describe something that’s warm just think of the colour orange.

When they finally got off the bus, my friend noticed a dear sister wearing a blue scarf and said to the blind lady,

‘it’s cold today, what colour of scarf is our dear sister wearing?’

To which she replied,

‘it’s blue’.

As you can imagine everyone thought a miracle had occurred.

I think something like this may have happened with the blind man, when he said he saw ‘men like trees walking around’. I’m sure that people would have tried their best to describe something he couldn’t see.

Presuming the man was blind from birth, imagine how he can now see colours for the first time, and the beauty of God’s creation. Imagine him seeing his wife and children for the first time if he was married and had children. He wouldn’t have to rely on anyone to take him places, he could work again.

Just like the demon possessed man who was healed, Luke 8:39, I’m pretty confident that the healed blind man would later be a witness for Jesus in the region.

Conclusion

Consider the situation of the blind man, while blind, he saw absolutely nothing. When Jesus first touched him, his vision improved, he saw men, though they looked like trees. To one who had been totally blind, that was fantastic progress, but Jesus could do more, He touched the man again and he began to see perfectly.

Unfortunately, in the spiritual realm, some people, including some Christians, are satisfied with one touch, they see, but not clearly. Many don’t even realise that they need a complete cure, and they have become content to see men like trees walking.

Consider, for example, someone whose life has been totally devastated by sin, they hear about Jesus, begin to follow many of His teachings and their life improves.

Sadly, however, the people who are unaware that they lack understanding of Jesus’ words in many areas and they settle for distorted vision. Let’s check out our own lives,

could it be that we still aren’t seeing clearly, and that Jesus could restore our vision perfectly?

When I worked in Birmingham we had a visiting speaker named Glynn, who was blind, he stood up to speak and his first words were,

‘please don’t feel sorry for me because I’m blind, it could be a lot worse, I could be spiritually blind’.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

1 Peter 3:15

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