And they *came to Bethsaida. And they *brought a blind man to Jesus and *implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” Mark 8 : 22 – 26 (NASB)
Bethsaida (the home town of Andrew, Peter and Philip) is on the North Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights, about 8 miles east of Capernaum. The exact location of Bethsaida is uncertain today with several archaeological sites claiming to be the ancient town. According to Marks’ Gospel Jesus travels south east from Tyre and Sidon, crossing the sea of Galilee into Decapolis and then north to Bethsaida. Jesus was known by the inhabitants of Bethsaida by stories and also since His home town of Capernaum was nearby, thus news of His arrival spread quickly drawing a crowd seeking His attention.
A blind man of the town is brought to Jesus probably by some friends, asking Jesus just to touch him. Here again we see an example of compassion by friends to an unfortunate soul, and in this case showing great faith – believing that simply a touch from Christ will heal their friend. Jesus’ response is tactile as in the case of the deaf man of Decapolis (Mark 7:32-35), indeed these miracles are remarkably similar. The Lord guides the man tenderly by the hand out of town away from the crowds. As in Decapolis Jesus spits, this time on the mans’ eyes and lays His hands over his eyes. Removing His hands He enquires if the man sees anything, he has some blurry vision so Jesus lays hands on again. This time the man sees clearly all that is around him, and is filled with indescribable joy. Jesus further instructs him to go straight home avoiding the crowds in the village. In coming days one can imagine the attention that man received from his neighbours, being asked to tell the story of his miracle many times. How his heart must have ached with the news about two weeks later, that Jesus had been crucified.
There was no need for Christ to touch the blind man, as the Son of Almighty God He could have healed the blindness instantly but it is my opinion the healing was done in stages to allay any shock or distress for a man who had suffered enough. The fact that he is bringing this fellow by the hand leading him from darkness into light is significant, for me it is reminiscent of Psalm 23;1-3: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Dear readers, Christ our Lord and Saviour seeks us daily in every moment amongst the business of life. He wants to take you by the hand and lead you to a quiet place, beside Him and His Father. It will only happen if we also seek Him daily, meeting Him on the hilltops of our prayers. The world that surrounds us is full of darkness but He seeks to lead us into the light of His Truth and Glory, as he did for the blind man of Bethsaida.