Markby Robert M. Solomon
People kept bringing the sick to Jesus. This time some ″brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him″ (v. 22). We are likewise reminded to bring the sick to Jesus in earnest prayer. Jesus held the blind man's hand and brought him outside the village-for some privacy. Jesus was careful not to let His fame spread ahead of His timing for the cross.
Again in an unusual way, Jesus spat on the man's eyes and put His hands on him and asked whether he saw anything (v. 23). It appears that he was healed partially, for he could see people but they looked ″like trees walking around″ (v. 24). Then Jesus touched the man's eyes again. This time there was a complete healing. Mark uses various phrases to emphasise this: a) ″his eyes were opened″, b) ″his sight was restored″, and c) ″he saw everything clearly″ (v. 25).
Why did Jesus use this ″two-step″ healing method? Was this a difficult case? Or was Jesus trying to teach something? At times, we need healing even after the first touch. When Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, preached in Nineveh and received an astounding response when the whole city repented, he sulked outside the city gates hoping that God would change His mind and wipe out this enemy of Israel. Jonah responded strongly when a vine grew above him to give shade and also when the vine withered. But he failed to be deeply moved by the condition of the city's people and their future. God told him, ″You have been concerned about this plant . . . should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh?″ (Jonah 4:10-11). Jonah had a problem with his spiritual eyesight. He could not tell the difference between a vine and a city. He needed a second touch from God to help him see clearly. Likewise, we are often in need of a second touch from Jesus.
Why did Jesus ask the man not to go into the village (v. 26)? Some manuscripts have the words ″Don't go and tell anyone in the village.″ Again, Jesus was not keen on publicising himself at this time. People still had wrong ideas about who He was. A time would come when He would be better understood and, after the cross, He would be widely made known.
Why do you think Jesus was reticent about making himself known widely? Is this still true today, or are we to openly make Him known? What about some modern preachers who seek personal fame?
Jesus asked, ″Do you see anything?″ If He were to ask you the same question, what would be your answer? Where do you think you would need a second touch from Him?