Sight to the Blind | Mark 8:22–26
22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
They return now to the major fishing town on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, south of Capernaum, where Philip, Andrew, and Peter all called home. As we read this, we’re not surprised to find Jesus healing the blind man brought to Him—Jesus came to proclaim the recovery of sight to the blind (Lk 4:18). Even so, there’s a notable lack of His proclaiming. This area is now under judgment, though this man receives grace from the Lord.
Jesus withholds further blessings for the region. We’ll read no more about preaching in northern Israel. After telling the Pharisees that they’ll have no more signs (vv. 10–13), Jesus moves south. Even though Jesus stops to heal this man, He does so outside of the village, instructing the man not to return into the village. There’s to be no further missionary activity here, no more testimonials of the Lord’s grace. Bethsaida is among the cities that Jesus pronounces woes against (Mt. 11:21–24), and darkness returns as the light departs.
Jesus extends further grace to this man. The blind man’s friends bring him and beg Jesus on his behalf. Jesus might have the village under judgment, but He takes the man by the hand to lead him. He touches the man’s eyes. He asks the man what he sees, and continues healing him when the man expresses a lack of focus. He touches the man’s eyes and restores him, “and he saw everything clearly” (v. 25).
Bethsaida was like this man; touched by the Lord, seeing something for the first time, but not clearly. The people there saw signs that would have brought wicked towns like Tyre and Sidon to repentance (Mt 11:21). Yet, they refused to allow the Lord to completely heal their spiritual blindness, and He judges them by leaving them as they are.
Still, no matter what the Lord is doing in this world, this nation, this city, or this neighborhood, He still accepts those who come to Him for healing. They will see and receive salvation from the Lord.