Jesus heals a blind man - Why couldn't the man see right away?
The miracle in Mark 8:28 is one of the great lessons that Jesus taught about faith. Jesus leads the blind man outside the village, possibly to avoid publicity. Then Jesus "spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him." Jesus then asked, "Do you see anything?" This is a very important question because it indicates that Jesus was intentionally making a point. The man said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Then Jesus put his hands on Him again and the man's sight was completely restored.
There are two important questions regarding this statement. First, did Jesus fail in His first attempt to heal the blind man? Of course not. Jesus had all-power to heal the man the first time, it was His choice to do it the way He did.
Secondly, why did Jesus choose to heal him in what appears to be stages? Most scholars believe that Jesus is teaching His disciples about faith. It is very significant that this situation happens between two instances where the disciples were blinded by their misunderstanding of Jesus (8:14-21 and 8:31-33). After Jesus touched the blind man the first time, the man could see, but not clearly. This is in comparison to the disciples who were growing in their understanding of who Jesus really is. They knew Jesus and wanted to follow Him, but they didn't fully realize what His mission was.
There is also the possibility that what is going on here is "post-blind syndrome." There have been numerous medical cases of people who had been blind since childhood and then have had their sight restored by surgery as adults. Many experience what is known as "post-blind syndrome." They see a trunk of a tree and some leaves, but they can not put the whole tree together as a unit. Some think that this is what is happening in Mark 8:28. The healed man was seeing a man and a tree, but they were running together in his mind. There are those who think that Jesus healed the man twice, once from blindness and once from post-blind syndrome.
Whatever the reason Jesus chose to heal the man in stages, I believe that Jesus was teaching His disciples a lesson in faith, knowing that they needed a visual example of what He was doing with their "spiritual sight."
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