God’s Word for You
Mark 8:22-26 Like trees walking
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, March 20, 2020
Jesus Heals a Blind Man
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village. He spit on the man’s eyes, placed his hands on him, and asked him, “Do you see anything?”
Why did the people think that Jesus needed to touch this man to heal him? When Bethsaida is mentioned earlier in the book (Mark 6:45) it was the place where Jesus sent the disciples after the feeding of the five thousand. At that earlier time, the people also brought their sick and “begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak” (Mark 6:56). The important thing here is that Jesus was aware of their faith. He did not refuse them, but he took the man away, leading him outside the village (we will be told why in verse 26). The business of spitting on the man’s eyes and laying his hands on the man is enough to make anyone ask why but consider the event from the man’s point of view. He was blind. He did not know what a man really looked like, nor even a tree, for that matter. He had an idea of how tall a man was, but perhaps he had never wondered about the height of a tree.
24 The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees walking.”
When Jesus began to restore his eyesight, he saw things moving around. They looked to him like so many trees, but some were moving. Those must be people! And he would soon learn that trees were not merely the height of a man, but far taller—three times or even thirty times the height of a man. Commentators sometimes feel that this reference to trees means that the man was not always blind, but can’t a blind man have an idea of a tree, just as he must have an idea of a door, a cup, a fence, or his mother’s face? His hands do a great deal of seeing, and this reference to trees walking matches what any blind man might think of trees.
25 Then Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes again. He opened his eyes and his sight was restored. He could see everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Do not go into the village.”
The delay in restoring the man’s sight probably has nothing at all to do with the man’s faith. Faith is not required for a miracle to be performed (Luke 22:50). Perhaps there was a medical reason for restoring the man’s vision slowly, or perhaps it was something else. What we can say for certain is that this man needed what Jesus gave him, therefore we should consider that very point as we apply this miracle to our own lives. Jesus knows precisely what I need, even if another man might have no idea; even if I myself have no idea.
Jesus told the man not to go back into Bethsaida. From this we can be confident that the man was not from there, and also that he would be able to find his way home—something that would have been possible if his companions could help him, or if there were a clear road to follow. We’re not told anything else about this. Jesus didn’t want the people to start bringing their sick to him at this time. It was a moment for private instruction for his apostles, as we shall see. Indeed, the time was soon to come when it would be time for Jesus to urge the disciples for a confession of their own faith, and for that faith to be confirmed with one of the most spectacular miracles Jesus performed: the transfiguration.
Pastor Timothy Smith