I was reading through the Gospel of Mark and there were two accounts of blind men who received their sight that stood out to me.
The first one is found in Mark 8:22-26 and the second one is in Mark 10:46-52. We’ll look at the blind man from chapter eight first.
The first thing the scripture says about him is that the blind man was from Bethsaida, which is a town in the area known as Galilee.
Bethsaida is also the town where Philip, Andrew and Peter, three of the disciples of the Lord, were from (John 1:44). Bethsaida is one of the towns the Lord warned concerning its lack of response to his great works he did there (Matthew 11:21).
The healing of this unnamed blind man is one of those great works that were done in this town. Mark tells us they brought the blind man to the Lord so he could touch him. The response of Jesus was not expected.
Jesus took the man by the hand and led him outside of town. It would have been quite a sight to see Jesus and the blind man walking together and leaving the town of Bethsaida.
Jesus could have healed the blind man anywhere, but for some unknown reason, Jesus took the man away from the town. It could be that the town of Bethsaida was already in a state of rejection of the saviour, as mentioned earlier.
A thing unique to this miracle happened when Jesus touched the blind man’s eyes. At first, the man could see forms of people, but not clearly. No reason is given for this partial recovery of his sight except the obvious — that Jesus could do whatever he wanted and restore the man’s sight in whatever way he chose.
Then he touched the blind man’s eyes a second time and his sight was fully restored. Jesus wanted to keep the miracle as secret as possible, so he instructed the man to keep it from the people of Bethsaida.
The second miracle in Mark 10:46-52 gives the name of the blind man as Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.
The location of the miracle was as Jesus was walking out of the town of Jericho with his disciples. This time we read of a great number of people who were present.
Bartimaeus is described as a beggar. His only source of income appears to be whatever people gave him in his time of need. The verses tell us Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth and cried out, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!”
Then we read many of the people charged Bartimaeus to be quiet, but he cried out,“Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Joel 2:32 says, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”
Bartimaeus was not going to let anyone or anything keep him from getting to Jesus. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Then we read that “Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.” So the people said to Bartimaeus, “Be of good comfort, rise; he calls you.” Bartimaeus threw aside his outer coat and came to Jesus.
In the midst of all those people, Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted him to do for him. Bartimaeus answered: “Lord, that I might receive my sight.”
The account of this by Matthew 20:34 says the Lord touched his eyes and immediately he received his sight. We also read that Bartimaeus then followed Jesus in the way.
These two accounts of miracles remind us of our spiritual blindness. I was watching a live feed from the International Space Station and the ISS was flying through the shadow of Earth on the opposite side of the planet from the sun.
It is marvelous to see the lights of the many cities, but if it wasn’t for the natural light we have provided for ourselves, the cities would be dark places.
Concerning the coming saviour, Isaiah 42:7 says, “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
There were three hours of darkness when Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins and he was willing to go through that time of suffering in darkness to open our eyes and bring us out of our darkness and into his marvelous light.
John Eggers is an elder in the assembly that meets in Westsyde Gospel Hall in Kamloops.
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