Mark 8:22
When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
The Blind Man of BethsaidaA. Rowland Mark 8:22-25
Analogy to Spiritual CuresE. N. Packard.Mark 8:22-26
Blindness Common in the EastR. Glover.Mark 8:22-26
Christ's Method of Dealing with Individual SoulsA. F. Muir, M. A.Mark 8:22-26
Curing Spiritual BlindnessA. F. Muir, M. A.Mark 8:22-26
Curing Spiritual BlindnessA.F. Muir Mark 8:22-26
Earnestness and Knowledge the Parents of FaithHugh Price Hughes.Mark 8:22-26
Get Hold of Sinners by the Hand If You Mean to Get Hold of Them by the HeartMark 8:22-26
Healing the BlindC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 8:22-26
Man Cannot Chose His RemedyMadame Swetchine.Mark 8:22-26
Restoring the Blind to SightA.F. Muir Mark 8:22-26
Seeing Men as Trees WalkingL. Palmer.Mark 8:22-26
Seeing or not Seeing, or Men as Trees WalkingC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 8:22-26
Sight for the BlindJ. R. Thomson, M. A.Mark 8:22-26
Significant ActionsHugh Price Hughes.Mark 8:22-26
Symbolism of TouchE. N. Packard.Mark 8:22-26
The Blind ManE. Johnson Mark 8:22-26
The Cure of a Blind ManM. Henry.Mark 8:22-26
The Free Agency of ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 8:22-26
The Gradual Healing of the Blind ManA. Maclaren, D. D.Mark 8:22-26
The Gradual Healing of the Blind ManR. Green Mark 8:22-26
The Gradual MiracleC. J. Vaughan, D. D.Mark 8:22-26
The Healing of a Blind Man At BethsaidaJ.J. Given Mark 8:22-26
The Lord Heals in His Own WayC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 8:22-26
The Saviour's Method in Dealing with Individual SoulsA.F. Muir Mark 8:22-26
Three Views of Christ's WorkDr. Parker.Mark 8:22-26
Illustration of Christ's -

I. WISDOM. He rebuked a vulgar curiosity, and perhaps baffled a Pharisaic intrigue. His privacy, so needful for bodily rest and spiritual preparation for the great conflict he felt to be impending, was thus preserved; and the course of teaching and working upon which he had entered was not seriously disturbed. The subject of the miracle was himself preserved from undue excitement with its attendant dangers. And shall we not suppose that a deeper and more spiritual understanding may have arisen between the Saviour and the recipient of his mercy during those solemn and deeply moving experiences which preceded his recovery? His deep, unbroken attention was secured as he felt the Saviour's touch and listened to his voice. By leading him away he tested and exercised his faith. By emphasizing the stages of recovery he made it clear to the man himself that it was no accidental occurrence, but a deliberate cure. And in the means used - so evidently inadequate to produce such a result - he showed how supernatural the power that was being exercised. The questions asked encouraged the man to put forth his own power as he received it, and thus to co-operate in the curative process. The final injunction to silence and home-going present the incident as a deep personal experience in the mind of the man, and as an evangelic message to those who were most likely to receive it in simplicity and gratitude.

II. MERCY. Although the shadow of death was falling upon the soul of Jesus, he was full of the instinct and will to save. There is scarcely any appreciable pause in his work; and retirement is not inactivity, but quieter, deeper, and more continuous, because more naturally prompted, action. Each case of distress as it arises receives his deliberate and careful attention. His diagnosis of the blind man's state must have been perfect. It was impaired original power that had to be restored, and the treatment corresponded to this fact. The interest of the Saviour in the case is as great as that of the saved. The sinister ends of those who brought the blind man, or watched to see what would be done, did not prevent him showing the mercy required. When the bodily cure had been completed, the spiritual welfare of the recovered one was carefully provided for. The aim is complete salvation in every sense of the word. What Christ does he will do perfectly.

III. JUDGMENT. Unworthy men were debarred from seeing the wonders of his saving power. They might have perverted the privilege to an evil end, and so injured themselves and the cause of Christ; so they were shut out. It is a fearful sentence against a place or a person when the spectacle of the Lord's saving grace is denied, and the things that make for peace are hidden from view. - M.

And He cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto Him.
Blindness was and is more common in Egypt and Syria than in any other part of the world. The glare of light, the dust which is produced by a dry season, extending from May to November, in which rain rarely falls, and the fruit of the newly ripe fig, all tend to produce inflammation of the eyes, and this, when severe or repeated, produces blindness. One-tenth of the population of Joppa today are blind. In a neighbouring town, Lydda, a traveller, probably exaggerating, said every other person was blind of one or both eyes. In Cairo, a city of 250,000 inhabitants, there are 4,000 blind. Accordingly, this was one of the commonest ills which the Saviour had to treat.

(R. Glover.)





(J. R. Thomson, M. A.)

I. HE ISOLATES FROM DISTURBING INFLUENCES. First with Christ, that afterwards he may be in Him.

II. HE ENCOURAGES AND CONFIRMS FAITH. Personal contact and operation, and kindly words, evoking patient's inner freewill and power.

III. HE EXACTS IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE. The first use of the restored vision is to avoid those upon whom the man had formerly depended — a hard task! The life Christ's people are bidden to lead may not commend itself to their judgment or desire, but it is best for their spiritual interests; and if Christ is to be a complete Saviour, He must be an absolute and unquestioned Lord.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

I.Deliverance from blind guides.

II.Transfer of confidence to the true Guide.

III.Revelation of the invisible power of God.

IV.Exercising the soul's newly acquired powers of spiritual vision.

V.Giving spiritual direction for the future.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

The only progressed cure recorded in the New Testament. Why was it not instantaneous like the rest? Nothing our Lord did or left undone was without meaning; so there must have been a reason for this. That reason cannot have been in Christ. He was no respecter of persons; His tender sympathy yearned over this sufferer as tenderly as over the rest. It must be traced, then, to the man himself and his fellow citizens. It the tone of morality had been higher in Bethsaida, if public opinion had been more upright, if the collective example of the citizens had been better, the probability is that the man would not have been so criminal. Now, what was wrong?

I. WANT OF FAITH. Why was there a lack of faith?

1. Because there was a lack of earnestness. Distinct evidence of this. His friends bring him to Christ, and from the fact that he does not speak except to answer a question, we infer that he was not particularly anxious to be brought. No such eagerness as in the case of Bartimaeus.

2. Because there was a want of knowledge. This man was an inhabitant of Bethsaida Julius, which was within easy walking distance of most of Christ's great works. The people living there had heard His wonderful words of life; and surely if those who could see, and who therefore, were without excuse, had realized their privileges and acted up to them they might have taught this man; but they had not done so. They had not rejoiced in the good news from God; they had not realized that the promised Messiah had come; they had not hastened to be His witnesses to their neighbours. If they had done so, they would have brought home to the mind of this poor blind man such a sense of the power and love of Jesus Christ, that he would not have hesitated for one moment to believe that Christ was well able to restore him at once to perfect vision. And because they were so unworthy Christ sends the man to his house, saying, "Neither go into the town," etc. His fellow citizens were not worthy to hear the story of the great work which God had wrought in him. We must not cast our pearls before swine, or give .hat which is holy to the dogs. This man himself was the monument of their spiritual shortcomings; and if in the first hour of his faith in Christ and his own personal experience of the power of Christ, he had returned to his cold-blooded, indifferent, cynical neighbours, they might have quenched the little flame of grateful love which was springing up in his heart.

(Hugh Price Hughes.)

The profound and saintly Bengel calls our attention here to this touching spectacle, that significant fact — that Christ did not command his friends to lead him out of the town, but He led him out Himself. Oh, what a spectacle for men and angels — the Divine Son of God tenderly taking the hand of this poor blind beggar, and leading him out of the town Himself! And why did He lead him out of the town, away from the noise and confusion and preoccupation of town life? Surely it was because solitude and silence are great teachers of earnestness. He needed to be alone with himself and with his great want. It has been well said by a great teacher of our own time, that solitude in the sense of being often alone, is essential to any depth of meditation and character; and at present there is very little meditation and depth of character in this man. It is necessary that he should be alone awhile, that he might realize the meaning of these things — his great need and the love of God. And then it is also very significant that, instead of speaking a word to him as usual, He moistens His finger and places it upon the sightless eyeball of the blind, in order that by palpable evidence He might bring home to this man that He is about to bestow upon him a supreme blessing. But, so far, the efforts of Christ are not entirely successful; for, after He had put His hands upon him, He asked him if he could see, and he looked up, and said, "I see men as trees" — I can see better than I ever saw before, but so vaguely, so dimly, the out. line is so indistinct, that I confess I cannot distinguish between the men and the trees at the side of the road, except by the fact that the men are moving. Now, you will observe that Christ did not abandon His work when it was half done. Indeed, He asked the man whether he could see, in order to bring home to him the fact that he could see a little, and that so far hope might spring up within him; but, at the same time, that he might also bring home to him the fact that he could see only very little. And then Christ put His hands upon his eyes a second time, and after that second touch he saw clearly.

(Hugh Price Hughes.)

Men arrive at Christ by different processes: one is found by Christ Himself, another comes to Him, another is borne of four, and this blind man is led. This matters little, so long as we do come to Him. The act of bringing men to Jesus is most commendable.

1. It proves kindly feeling.

2. It shows practical faith in the power of Jesus.

3. It is thus an act of true wisdom.

4. It is exceedingly acceptable to the Lord; and is sure to prove effectual when the person himself willingly comes.In this case there was something faulty in the bringing, since there was a measure of dictation as to the method in which the Lord should operate.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

We must not attempt to dictate to Him how He shall operate. While He honours faith, He does not defer to its weakness.

1. He does not consent to work in the prescribed manner.

2. He touched, but no healing came; and thus He proved that the miracle was not attached to that special form of operation.

3. He did nothing to the blind man before their eyes; but led him out of the town. He would not indulge their observation or curiosity.

4. He did not heal him instantly, as they expected.

5. He used a means never suggested or thought of by them — "spit on his eyes," etc.

6. When He did put His hands on him, He did it twice, so that, even in compliance with their wish, He vindicated His own freedom.

(a)Thus He refused to foster the superstition which limited His power.

(b)Thus He used a method more suited to the case

(c)Thus He gave to the people larger instruction.

(d)Thus He displayed to the individual a more personal care.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Is the sick man the doctor, that he should choose the remedy?

(Madame Swetchine.)

In the touching of the eyes with spittle, and laying on of hands, there was no inherent efficacy. They were means and channels of grace. Christ has established a Church in the world, and an ordained ministry therein, and holy sacraments, which only through Him become healing powers in the world. He could have spoken a word to the blind man at Bethsaida and all would have been accomplished that was sought for. He could save men's souls directly by fiats of omnipotent grace, but He has chosen a Church to embody and set forth the fulness of His love toward a lost world. He has used means.

(E. N. Packard.)

Doubtless we are inclined to press the analogy between the gradualness of this man's cure and the gradualness of certain restorations to spiritual life; but this seems quite unauthorized. The cure was not an ideal type of all soul cures, but an instructive illustration of occasional Divine methods. The instant the blind eyes began to see, there was a miracle practically accomplished. The instant we turn to God in repentance and faith the new life begins; and regeneration, whenever it occurs, is instantaneous. Yet, for all that, our capacity to receive the fulness of Christ is at first but small, and the light must wax stronger and stronger as we walk in it day by day.

(E. N. Packard.)

Variety is one mark of God's working, as order is another. There was a fertility of resource, and a diversity of administration, which bespoke the agency of One who from the beginning was with God and was God, the Doer of all God's acts and the Partner of all God's counsels. The spiritual eye is not utterly closed nor utterly darkened; but its sight is confused, its discernment of objects both misty and inaccurate.

1. It is so in reference to the things of God. We can speak but for ourselves: but who has not known what it is to say, I cannot make real to myself one single fact or one single doctrine of the Bible? I can say indeed — and I bless God even for that — Lord, to whom else can I go? where, save in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, is there either the hope or the peradventure of healing for a case like mine? And therefore I can cling to the Christian revelation with the tenacity of a shipwrecked sailor whose one "broken piece of the ship" is his only possibility of escape: I can just float upon that fragment, knowing that, torn from it or washed off from it, I am lost: but if the question is, whether I really see ought; whether I can discern with the mind's eye the sacred and blessed forms of a Father and a Saviour and a Comforter who are such to me; whether, when I kneel down to pray, I can feel myself to be apart with my God; whether, when I approach Christ's Table, I feel myself to be His guest; whether, when I ask to be kept this day from all sin, I feel myself to be the temple of a Holy Spirit whose indwelling is my safeguard and my chief joy; then I must answer that my hold upon all these things is precarious and most feeble; that seeing I see, but scarcely perceive; that my God is too often to me like the gods of the heathen, which can neither see, nor hear, nor reward, nor punish; that I too often conduct myself towards Him as though I thought wickedly that He was even such an one as myself, equally short-sighted, equally fallible, equally vacillating, equally impotent. More especially is this the case in reference to the distinctive doctrines of Divine grace. How little do any of us grasp and handle and use the revelation of an absolute forgiveness! What can we say more, in regard to all these things, than that at best we see men as trees, walking? that we have a dim, dull, floating impression of there being something in them, rather than a clear, bold, strong apprehension of what and whom and why we have believed?

2. And if this be so in the things of God, in matters of direct revelation and of Christian faith; it is scarcely less true in reference to the things of men; to our views of life, the present life and the future, and to the relations in which we stand to those fellow beings with whom the Providence of God brings us into contact. We all profess as Christians to be "looking for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." And yet, when we examine our own hearts, or observe (however remotely) the evident principles of others, we find that in reality the world that is holds us all with a very firm gripe. We cannot appreciate the comparative dimensions of things heavenly and things earthly. The subject appears to suggest two words of application. First, to those who are truly in the position which I have sought by the help of this miracle to indicate. To those who are really under the healing hand of Christ, but upon whom as yet it has been laid incompletely if not indecisively. Many persons think themselves quite healed, when they are at best but half healed. Many, having experienced a first awakening, and sought with sincerity the gift of the Divine forgiveness, rest there, and count themselves to have apprehended. The importance of going forward in the process of the healing. Secondly, and finally, a word of caution must be added to those who are too easily assuming that they are even half healed. The hand is not laid without our knowing it, nay, nor without our seeking it. Even the first act of healing is a gift above gold and precious stone: despise it not! Power out of weak. ness, peace out of warfare, light outer darkness, sight out of dim, groping, creeping blindness, this it is to be the subject of the first healing.

(C. J. Vaughan, D. D.)


II. WHILE OUR LORD HONOURS FAITH HE DOES NOT DEFER TO ITS WEAKNESS. He used a means never suggested by them — "spit on his eyes," etc.

III. WHILE OUR LORD REBUKES THE WEAKNESS OF FAITH, HE HONOURS FAITH ITSELF. Faith ever honours the Lord, and therefore the Lord honours it. If faith were not thus rewarded, Jesus Himself would suffer dishonour. He who has faith shall surely see; he who demands signs shall not be satisfied. Let us forever have done with prescribing methods to our Lord.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. PICTURE THE CASE. A person with a darkened understanding, not a man who might be pictured by a person possessed with a devil.

II. NOTICE THE MEANS OF CURE. His friends brought him to Jesus. He first received contact with Jesus. A solitary position: Jesus led the man out of the town. He was brought under ordained but despicable means. Jesus spit on his eyes. Jesus put His hands on him in the form of heavenly benediction.

III. CONSIDER THE HOPEFUL STAGE. The first joyful word is — "I see." His sight was very indistinct. His sight was very exaggerating. This exaggeration leads to alarm. There is to such people an utter loss of the enjoyment which comes from seeing beauty and loveliness.

IV. NOTICE THE COMPLETION OF THE CURE. Jesus touched His patient again. The first person he saw was Jesus. Jesus bade him "look up." At last he could see every man clearly.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. AN IMPROVEMENT UPON THE PAST. He was no longer blind — thus an immense change had taken place. There is an infinite distance between the lowest type of a Christian and the finest specimen of an unconverted soul. The most subtle animal and the barbarous savage may seem to resemble each other; but a gulf which only God can bridge separates them. Thus the most imperfect act of faith in Christ lifts a person out of the natural into the spiritual realm.

II. A STATE THAT IS STILL UNSATISFACTORY. "Men as trees walking." Whilst an imperfect faith will save the soul, yet it will not prevent incorrect views of truth: exaggerated views; and many needless fears. Most of the theological contentions are through imperfect conceptions of truth. Two men with perfect sight would see an object alike — two with very dim sight would each see it to be different.

III. A GUARANTEE OF PERFECT VISION. The blade is a prophecy of the ear: the morning twilight of the noonday splendour: the buds of spring of the fruit of autumn. He which hath begun a good work within, will perfect it. He is the finisher as well as the author of our faith. How strange if Christ had left the poor man thus. "Now are we sons of God — therefore it doth not yet appear what we shall be."

(L. Palmer.)

I. Christ's work as a SALVATION. The restoring of sight was a point on the brilliant line, the end of which was the salvation of mankind; so was every miracle of healing.

II. Christ's work as a PROCESS. The good work was not accomplished in this case, as in other's, by a word; it was done gradually. It is so in spiritual enlightenment. All good men do not see God with equal quickness or with equal clearness.

III. Christ's work as a CONSUMMATION. "He was restored, and saw every man clearly." He will not leave His work until it be finished, if so be men beseech Him to go on to be gracious.

(Dr. Parker.)

I. A BLIND MAN BROUGHT TO CHRIST. Their faith. If those who are spiritually blind will not pray for themselves, let others pray for them.

II. A BLIND MAN LED BY CHRIST. He did not bid his friends lead him. Never had the blind man such a leader before.


1. Christ used a sign.

2. The cure was wrought gradually, but —

3. It was soon completed.He took this way because —

1. He would not be tied to any one method.

2. It should be to the patient according to his faith, which at first was very weak.

3. He would show how spiritual light shines "more and more to the perfect day."

(M. Henry.)

Gough, the temperance orator, tells of the thrill of Joe Stratton's hand laid lovingly upon his shoulder, just at the time when he was reeling on the brink of hell; and of another gentleman of high respectability, who came to his shop when he was desperately struggling to disengage himself from the coils of the serpent, and almost ready to sink down in despair; and how he took him by the hand, expressed his faith in him, and bade him play the man. Gough said, "I will:" and he did — as everybody knows.

I. HERE WE HAVE CHRIST ISOLATING THE MAN WHOM HE WANTED TO HEAL. Christ never sought to display His miraculous working; here He absolutely tries to hide it. This suggests the true point of view from which to look at the subject of miracles. Instead of being merely cold, logical proofs of His mission, they were all glowing with the earnestness of a loving sympathy, and came from Him at sight of sorrow as naturally as rays from the sun. A lesson about Christ's character; His benevolence was without ostentation. But Christ did not invest the miracle with any of its peculiarities for His own sake only. All that is singular about it will, I think, find its best explanation in the condition and character of the subject, the man on whom it was wrought. What sort of a man was he? Well, the narrative does not tell us much, but if we use our historical imagination and our eyes we may learn something about him. First, he was a Gentile; the land in which the miracle was wrought was the half-heathen country on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. In the second place, it was other people that brought him; he does not come of his own accord. Then again, it is their prayer that is mentioned, not his — he asks nothing. And suppose he is a man of that sort, with no expectation of anything from this Rabbi, how is Christ to get at him? His eyes are shut, so cannot see the sympathy beaming in His face. There is one thing possible — to lay hold of him by the hand; and the touch, gentle, loving, firm, says this, at least: "Here is a man that has some interest in me, and whether He can do anything or not for me, He is going to try something." Would not that kindle an expectation in him? And is it not in parable just exactly what Jesus Christ does for the whole world? Is not the mystery of the Incarnation and the re, caning of it wrapped up as in a germ in that little simple incident, "He put out His hand and touched him"? Is there not in it too a lesson for all you good-hearted Christian men and women, in all your work? We must be content to take the hands of beggars if we are to make the blind to see. How he would feel more and more at each step, "I am at His mercy! What is He going to do with me?" And how thus there would be kindled in his heart some beginnings of an expectation, as well as some surrendering of himself to Christ's guidance! These two things, the expectation and the surrender, have in them, at all events, some faint beginnings and rude germs of the highest faith, to lead up to which is the purpose of all that Christ here does. And is not that what He does for us all? Sometimes by sorrows, sometimes by sick beds, sometimes by shutting us out from chosen spheres of activity. Ah! brethren, here is a lesson from all this — if you want Jesus Christ to give you His highest gifts and to reveal to you His fairest beauty, you must be alone with Him. He loves to deal with single souls. "I was left alone, and I saw this great vision," is the law for all true beholding.

II. WE HAVE CHRIST STOOPING TO A SENSE-BOUND NATURE BY THE USE OF MATERIAL HELPS. The hand laid upon the eyes, the finger possibly moistened with saliva touching the ball, the pausing to question, the repeated application. They make a ladder by which his hope and confidence might climb to the apprehension of the blessing. And that points to a general principle of the Divine dealings. God stoops to a feeble faith, and gives to it outward things by which it may rise to an apprehension of spiritual realities. Is not that the meaning of the whole complicated system of Old Testament revelation? Is not that the meaning of His own Incarnation? And still further, may we not say that this is the inmost meaning and purpose of the whole frame of the material universe? It exists in order that, as a parable and a symbol, it may proclaim the things that are unseen and eternal. So in regard of all the externals of Christianity, forms of worship, ordinances, and so on — all these, in like manner, are provided in condescension to our weakness, in order that by them we may be lifted above themselves; for the purpose of the temple is to prepare for the time and place where the seer "saw no temple therein." They are but the cups that carry the wine, the flowers whose chalices bear the honey, the ladder by which the soul may climb to God Himself, the rafts upon which the precious treasure may be floated into our hearts. If Christ's touch and Christ's saliva healed, it was not because of anything in them, but because He willed it so; and He Himself is the source of all the healing energy.

III. LASTLY, WE HAVE CHRIST ACCOMMODATING THE PACE OF HIS POWER TO THE SLOWNESS OF THE MAN'S FAITH. He was healed slowly because he believed slowly. His faith was a condition of his cure, and the measure of it determined the measure of the restoration; and the rate of the growth of his faith settled the rate of the perfecting of Christ's work on him. As a rule, faith in His power to heal was a condition of Christ's healing, and that mainly because our Lord would, rather have men believing than sound of body. "According to your faith be it unto you." And here, as a nurse or a mother might do, He keeps step with the little steps, and goes slowly because the man goes slowly. Now, both the gradual process of illumination and the rate of that process as determined by faith, are true for us. How dim and partial a glimmer of light comes to many a soul at the outset of the Christian life! How little a new convert knows about God and self and the starry truths of His great revelation! Christian progress does not consist in seeing new things, but in seeing the old things more clearly: the same Christ, the same Cross, only more distinctly and deeply apprehended, and more closely incorporated into my very being. We do not grow away from Him, but we grow into knowledge of Him. But then let me remind you that just in the measure in which you expect blessing of any kind, illumination and purifying and help of all sorts from Jesus Christ, just in that measure will you get it. You can limit the working of Almighty power, and can determine the rate at which it shall work on you. God fills the water pots to the brim, but not beyond the brim; and if, like the woman in the Old Testament story, we stop bringing vessels, the oil will stop flowing. It is an awful thing to know that we have the power, as it were, to turn a stopcock, and so increase or diminish, or cut off altogether the supply of God's mercy and Christ's healing and cleansing love in our hearts. You will get as much of God as you want and no more. The measure of your desire is the measure of your capacity, and the measure of your capacity is the measure of God's gift. "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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