HTML clipboard The book of Mark records the story of an interesting miracle. A blind man is brought and Jesus is asked to restore his sight. Jesus complies, but unlike the other recorded miracles of healing, it takes two times for the man to be completely healed: “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. And he looked up and said, ‘I see men like trees, walking.’ Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.” (Mark 8:22-25, NKJV)
Every time I read this story, I ask myself the same question: Why didn’t Jesus heal the man’s sight completely the first time? Why did this particular blind man require two miracles of Jesus to regain his sight?
To answer this question, let’s look at the context. This story is sandwiched in the middle of three interesting stories…
The first story appears immediately after the story of the healing of the blind man. Jesus and His disciples are in Caesarea Philippi, and Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). They answered honestly enough: “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” (Mark 8:28). Then Jesus asked the key question: “But who do you say that I am?” to which Peter responded: “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29, NKJV)
From this story, we see that most people did not know who Jesus really was, calling Him John the Baptist or Elijah, but the eyes of the disciples had been spiritually opened enough that they recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ.
But did the disciples truly have a clear understanding of who Jesus was?
Not at all, for immediately after this story, we find another. Jesus had been teaching the disciples of His upcoming suffering and death, and upon hearing these words, Peter began to rebuke Jesus (see Mark 8:33a). Jesus’ response? “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33b, NKJV)!
Immediately preceding the story of the healing of the blind man, we find yet another interesting encounter with the disciples. While in a boat, Jesus says to His followers: “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15).
Unfortunately, the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus is saying: “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.'” (Mark 8:16). Jesus immediately rebuked them, saying: “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:15-18, NKJV)
Thus, though the disciples had more spiritual “sight” than the general public, their eyes were not completely opened to Truth. Could it be said that they “saw men walking like trees?” Is it possible that Jesus purposefully did not completely heal the blind man the first time to teach us a spiritual lesson? To help us to understand that spiritual sight can come in gradation?
I believe the answer is “yes!”
We need to be aware that although we may have been granted an element of spiritual sight into a specific situation, our eyes may still be partially blinded. We may still: “…see in a mirror, dimly…” (1 Cor 13:12a). We may not yet have the full picture.
Friends, no matter where you are in your spiritual walk, I urge you to continue to seek healing for spiritual blindness. Don’t go through your spiritual life seeing “men walking as trees.” Seek God’s completely and total healing of your spiritual sight, and always be aware that your sight may not yet be 100% clear!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Blind Eyes” mini-series, please click here.)